August 5, 2009 5:20:34 am
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday made a review of the transport situation in the city even as the Supreme Court refused to pass an interim stay on the Calcutta High Court order banning 15-year-old vehicles in the city. The apex court has fixed the next hearing on August 10.
The Bengal Bus Syndicate had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court,urging for an interim stay on the March 15,2009 High Court order.
The chief minister took stock of the situation and asked me to take steps so that the inconvenience to the people because of the green drive is minimised. But things will be tough for commuters in the coming months, Sumantra Choudhury,additional chief secretary,department of transport,said.
Of the 12,000-odd buses and mini-buses in the city,about 2600 are off the roads. Of the 30,000-odd auto-rickshaws,11,000 are running,about 3,000 of them having already converted to four-stroke engines. About 8,000 have applied for the same. Of the 30,000-odd taxis,6,000 are off the roads.
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We have pressed about 300 long-distance buses into service on city routes. We have issued notices to owners of chartered buses to procure temporary route permits in the city. In this way,we will be able to put about 800 extra buses on city routes. But the problem will remain serious, the transport secretary said.
Meanwhile,taxi and bus operators,while waiting for the August 10 hearing in the Supreme Court,are speeding up the process for application for conversion to non-polluting vehicles. Owners of the polluting auto-rickshaws have also started applying for LPG kits. We have not lost hope. After August 10,we will hasten our process for filing applications for conversion, said Swarnokamal Saha,general secretary,Bengal Bus Syndicate.
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