Only 200 buses to be phased out now

NEW DELHI, JAN. 31. Allaying any fears of chaos on Delhi roads following the expiry of the January 31 Supreme Court deadline of phasing out diesel buses, the Delhi Transport Minister, Ajay Maken, today said only 200 buses would be phased out and 5,700 diesel buses will continue to ply till further directions of the court. An affidavit had been filed seeking consideration of the Mashelkar Committee report and allowing of dual fuel mode for the Capital.

Stating that not all non-CNG buses would be phased out after expiry of the deadline tonight, Mr. Maken said that a 32-month phase-out schedule had been submitted to the Supreme Court today. The schedule has been drawn up after a feedback from the Centre on the availability of CNG and comes into force from November last year. The Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry had conveyed to the Delhi Government and transporters that it was not in a position to supply CNG for more than 200 vehicles per month. The phasing-out schedule has been based on the inputs given by the Ministry. The phase out schedule would be reviewed after March 31.

Mr. Maken said there would be around 3,400 CNG buses on Delhi roads tomorrow. These include around 2,100 DTC buses and private vehicles. In addition, 5,700 non-CNG buses would also ply. There are also 1,800 contract carriage diesel buses allowed on inter-state routes. He said there was no violation of court orders or any contempt involved in allowing diesel buses beyond the January 31 deadline.

He said in addition, the Government had also filed a prayer before the court to allow dual fuel mode use for commercial vehicles in the Capital. It has been prayed that in view of recommendations of the Mashelkar Committee, new developments had taken place and things should be viewed in a larger prespective. The Mashelkar Committee had recommended that the fuel choice should be left to the vehicle user.

Mr. Maken said a large number of transporters met him today and discussed the fall-out of the court orders. He made it clear that the Government was determined to go ahead with the phasing out schedule and asked them to wait for the February 8 hearing. He said it had also been decided that fitness certificates would be issued to all commercial vehicles which do not fall under the 200 bus phasing out schedule.

Stating that another landmark was going to be achieved, the Minister said beginning tomorrow only those three-wheelers and taxis would be registered in Delhi which have lamper-proof electronic meters. The process for installing electronic meters in the old three-wheelers and taxis had also begun. The Burari Depot had been made the centre for this.

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