Directive dumps diesel

After Delhi, it is Mumbai's turn. Taking a cue from the Supreme Court's directive on conversion of Delhi's bus fleet to CNG (compressed natural gas), the Mumbai High Court has in its final order favoured alternative fuels such as CNG and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). It has almost prohibited the use of dirty diesel engines in taxis and three-wheelers (see box: For a cleaner Mumbai).

The Mumbai High Court's order has not gone down well with transporters. On April 25, 2002, they called a city-wide strike. Earlier, consequent to the interim high court order in February 2002, they had expressed similar resentment in March 2002 (See Down To Earth, Mumbai stand-off ends, Vol 10, No 22, April 15, 2002). However, there was no relaxation made by the court, which in its final order has clearly stated that there would be no further extension of deadlines and it will not succumb to any pressure tactics.

With no other option in sight, the taxi unions appealed in the Supreme Court against the high court order. And the only reprieve they could get from the apex court was on the taxis whose CNG conversion deadline was extended to August 31, 2002 . "As most of these taxis are under eight years old and their owners are still repaying the loans for purchasing them, I think the court order is fair enough. What is heartening is that even the Supreme Court has clarified that no further extensions will be granted,' says Shiraz Rustomjee, the lawyer arguing for Bombay Environmental Action Group, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) which had sought the removal of these polluting vehicles.

For a cleaner Mumbai
High court sets time schedule for conversion of polluting vehicles
Order Deadline
All 137 D (diesel) taxis to be converted to CNG (compressed natural gas) April 30, 2002 (extended by Supreme Court to August 31, 2002)
Three-wheelers over 10 years old to register for conversion to CNG/LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) with transport department April 30, 2002
All three-wheelers that have registered for conversion with transport department have to be actually converted to CNG/LPG June 31, 2002
Transport commissioner to file compliance and progress report with regard to the order June 12, 2002

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