EPCA urges SC to remove cap on auto-rickshaw in Delhi
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court appointed environment watchdog EPCA has urged the apex court to remove the cap imposed on the number of auto-rickshaw permits issued in Delhi. Environment think tanks welcomed the suggestion as this would make the better public transport system.
EPCA officials noted that Delhi's transport system need a boost and this step would mean that public transport system will become better which the EPCA earlier suggested as one of the most important ways to curb the city pollution.
"Why are these vehicles, that were initially restricted for fouling up the air, coming back without fetters on their numbers to reduce pollution? While this might sound like an oxymoron to some, this is actually a unique case in which the technology clean up has converged with mobility solution to set the next generation roadmap for intermediate public transport in Delhi and other Indian cities. Circumstances have changed considerably since 1997 when these vehicles were powered by extremely polluting two-stroke engines or small diesel engines that made a cap on their numbers necessary. The autos were also moved to run on CNG," observed Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
According to the Economic Survey of Delhi 2018-19, around 32.5 lakh cars and 70.8 lakh two-wheelers are registered in the city. Between 2016-17 and 2017-18, the number of cars has increased by roughly 1 lakh and two-wheelers by over 4.7 lakh. At the same time, the number of registered taxis has reduced marginally, from 1,18,308 to 1,18,060; while auto-rickshaw growth has been capped at 1,00,000. This, combined with the insufficiency of public buses, gives no alternative but to use personal vehicles, which is apparent from the exponential growth in this segment.
EPCA, in its report, noted that it is "important that there is a balance in the supply of all kinds of para-transit so that there is a viable mode of public transport for all sections of society."