Monday, December 29, 2008

Autorickshaw drivers refuse to bite subsidy bait

Autorickshaw drivers refuse to bite subsidy bait

The government wants two-stroke autos to be phased out and replaced by four-stroke ones.
Raghavendra R
First Published : 29 Dec 2008 04:20:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 29 Dec 2008 09:36:41 AM IST

BANGALORE: Autorickshaw drivers of Bangalore do not seem to have taken kindly to the government’s initiatives to clean up the atmosphere. Out of the approximately 80,000 autos that ply on Bangalore roads, a measly six auto owners have responded positively to the Transport Department’s initiative to rein in the increasing levels of air pollution. Under its air pollution control programme for 2008-09, the Department is providing a subsidy of Rs 10,000 for each auto that is registered before April 1, 1991, to switch over from a two-stroke engine to a fourstroke one.

Same is the case when it comes to utilisation of subsidy for installing electronic digital fare meters. Under this scheme, only five autoowners or drivers have utilised the subsidy of Rs 1,000 each, given for fixing electronic digital meters in place of mechanical ones. The government has allocated Rs 37.90 lakh towards the subsidy for 3,790 autos in the 2008- 09 budget.

Transport Commissioner Bhaskar Rao informed the Express that for switching over from two-stroke to fourstroke LPG autos, the government has allocated Rs 20 lakh in this budget for 200 twostroke autos. “Two-stroke autos are not environmentfriendly as they cause considerable air pollution. Also, the LPG conversion kit, manufactured before 1991, is not safe for use in two-stroke autos.

These schemes have dual aims - to reduce air pollution and provide safety to the commuters,” he said.

The Commissioner also disclosed that through these schemes, the existing old twostroke autos would be phased out and replaced with the LPG and digital meter-fitted fourstroke ones.

When asked about these schemes evoking lukewarm response, Rao said that a proposal would be sent shortly to the government to relax the limit of the model manufacturing from the present 1991 to 1995, which he thinks will find more takers. He branded the subsidy of Rs 10,000 as ‘meagre,’ considering the fact that the total cost would come to around Rs 1,25,000.

Rao added that the current recession is also a hurdle, owing to which getting finance is a difficult task in itself.

“Increasing subsidy as well as the number of beneficiaries is the need of the hour,” he said.The Commissioner also said that the Department was seriously mulling over making LPG conversion compulsory for autos in other districts as well.

“The move is to control the enormous air pollution caused by autos. LPG kits would be made compulsory in Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, Gulbarga, Mangalore, Udupi, Tumkur, Davanagere, Puttur, Shimoga and Hassan,” Rao added.

Here too, the Department has made a provision of providing Rs 2,000 as subsidy for each of the 27,067 beneficiaries towards LPG conversion.


Post a Comment

<< Home