In a bid to reduce the environmental and air pollution, Kerala government has drawn up a programme to convert the state-run buses to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) operated ones in a phased manner.
The recent National Green Tribunal order restricting diesel vehicles would have adverse impact on the public transport system, especially to Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, Transport Minister A K Saseendran said in the Assembly.
“The decision of the government to move to CNG is after taking into consideration of the future verdicts in such cases and also to use fuel that would bring down the environmental pollution,” the minister said.
As part of the pilot project, a fleet of CNG buses would be introduced in Kochi and later it would be expanded to cities like Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
The programme is to have at least 1,000 CNG buses in the coming years, the minister said.
He also said the state’s concern over the NGT order had already been brought to the notice of the Prime Minister and union ministers for transport and environment and forest.
NGT’s Kochi circuit bench had recently banned registration of diesel vehicles of 2000cc or above in Kerala and also barred all diesel vehicles, whether light or heavy, that are older than 10 years, from plying on roads in major cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur.
However, this order was stayed by the High Court for two months.
The LDF government’s maiden budget for the year 2016-17, presented by Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac last week, had focused on the issue and had earmarked Rs 300 crore for introduction of CNG buses in the state.