FROM NEXT year, HRTC buses and government vehicles with a nine-year lifespan will be taken off roads. And registration fee on all diesel vehicles with a 10-year lifespan will be doubled. This is part of a slew of green measures the Himachal Pradesh government has taken.
“The state is moving to turn the transport fleet eco-friendly and ban diesel vehicles in a phased manner for a better quality of life and saving the citizens and tourists from harmful effects of gases,” said Transport Minister G S Bali on Monday. “The measures to phase out diesel vehicles will begin from today itself. I am ordering all regional transport officers and the vehicles registering authorities to stop registration of vehicles bought in the other states. Only commissioner (transport ) will have the power to grant exemptions after proper verifications.”
The government also announced abolition of registration fee on hybrid vehicles, including electric, battery- and CNG-operated buses and other vehicles.
Bali said HRTC would take off the roads all its buses with a nine-year lifespan from January 1, 2016. These would be replaced with 300 new buses of Euro IV level. “No HRTC bus older than nine years will be seen on the roads next year from day one,” he said.
In the next step, the government will double the registration fee for the diesel vehicles with a 10-year lifespan. This will come into effect from April 1, 2016, and vehicles with a 15-year lifespan will have a higher “exemplary” registration fee.
All maxi-cabs, small passenger vehicles with a 10-year lifespan will not be registered. To reduce the number of goods carriage vehicles, the government will encourage multi-axle trucks on the roads.
In another important step, Bali said the government would permit replacement of autorickshaws with e-rickshaws.
In Himachal Pradesh, there are a total of 11.43 registered vehicles. Out of this, 2,11,670 are diesel vehicles alone in the transport sector while 9,23,682 are in the non-transport sector, including tractors. There are 2.77 lakh vehicles with a 10-year lifespan and 1.42 vehicles with a 15-year lifespan.
The state government proposes to set up five CNG stations at Una, Dalhousie, Shimla, Manali and Dharamsala while Central funding has been sought to set up electric charging stations at 25 bus stands.
The CNG and electric buses will be plied on routes like Rohtang Pass and Manali, as suggested by the National Green Tribunal.