Staff Reporter

“Capital has cleanest transport fleet in world”

“People need to speak up against diesel-run cars”

“28 flyovers being constructed for better connectivity”

NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said on Wednesday that her Government was striving to make Delhi a fully pollution-free city before the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

She said efforts were on to provide a healthier and more comfortable environment in the city ahead of the mega sporting carnival that would attract a large number of foreigners to the country.

Speaking at the inauguration of a day-long international conference on “CNG -- Averting Disaster” organised by Green Leaf Foundation, the Chief Minister said it was with a great deal of effort that the Government had succeeded in providing the city with the cleanest transport fleet in the world. “In the past six years, all old commercial vehicles have been phased out and 1 lakh vehicles involved in public transport in Delhi have been put on clean CNG fuel that has helped in substantial improvement in the ambient air quality of the city,” she said.

For the Commonwealth Games, Ms. Dikshit said, over 1,000 new CNG low-floor buses were being purchased and for this a sum of Rs.500 crore would be released.

The Chief Minister used the opportunity to inform that Delhi needs enhanced supply of CNG as the Government was within two weeks going to finalise a policy which would facilitate switchover of 40,000 light commercial vehicles from diesel to CNG. She also exhorted the people to speak up against diesel-run cars and asserted that their number needs to be limited through withdrawal of all incentives that are given out on their purchase if the problem of air pollution is to be tackled effectively.

The Chief Minister also spoke about evolving a consensus on the issue of pollution control among all the States in the National Capital Region. “The pollution level of Delhi also goes up due to entry of diesel-propelled vehicles from other States which generally pass through Delhi on their way to their destinations in other States,” she said.

Emphasising the need to commission the two peripheral expressways around Delhi that would provide fast passage to those vehicles which are not otherwise supposed to enter Delhi, Ms. Dikshit urged both Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to honour their commitments in making these peripheral expressways functional at the earliest.

“The delay is on the part of other States as Delhi has been releasing its financial share for these projects on time,” she said.

The meeting was informed that to improve traffic flow and to reduce emission on account of traffic congestion about 150 km of roads are being widened in Delhi, 1,327 km are being strengthened and resurfaced, 175 km are being street-scraped, and on 325 km of roads new energy-efficient street lighting is being arranged.

The Delhi Government, Ms. Dikshit said, had already constructed 63 flyovers to reduce idle time of cars and consequent carbon emissions. For the Commonwealth Games, she said, another 28 flyovers and bridges are being constructed for better connectivity and traffic management and for beautification of the Capital.