Advocate General Bolai Roy on Friday submitted before the Calcutta High Court that 15-year-old public vehicles should be allowed to run in the city after being converted to LPG mode. He added that the vehicles would have to obtain a certificate of fitness from the transport department before continuing with their operations.
The state Environment department had issued a notification on July 17,2008,banning public vehicles over 15 year-old like bus,minibus,lorry and taxi from running in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area from March 31,2009.
The HC had upheld the notification on July 18,2008. But in an interim order on March 18,the court extended the deadline to July 31,2009.
The notification of the Environment department did not,however,say that such public vehicles would be allowed to operate after being converted to LPG mode or any other green fuel.
Environmentalist Subhas Dutta moved the plea that the state government should clarify its stands on the issue. If the state government allowed these vehicles to run after conversion to the LPG mode,this should be communicated to the private transport operators. Dutta said many transport operators had started an agitation against the governments decision to ban 15-year-old public vehicles. The transport operators have also demanded an extension of the deadline.
In a related development,a counsel of Modern High School on Friday pleaded before the Division Bench of Chief Justice S S Nijjar and Justice Biswanath Somadder that the school wanted to convert its five 15-year-old school buses to LPG. The Bench then asked Roy about the stand of the government on the conversion of school buses to LPG.
When he replied that the government supported the move,the Bench directed the state government to take necessary steps to cooperate with the school to initiate the conversion of the buses. Roy also wanted to know if it would be possible for the school to convert the five buses to LPG within July 31.
The government is determined to take strict measures to implement the ban on public vehicles after July 31,Roy said.
High Court refuses to extend auto conversion deadline
The Calcutta High Court has rejected an application by auto-rickshaw operators to extend the deadline for conversion to four-stroke LPG mode by another six months. In last July,the court had ordered the phase out of two-stroke autos from Kolkata Metropolitan Area before January 1 2009,but the court had later extended the deadline till July 31. – PTI