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State to draft plan for phasing out vehicles older than 15 years from 7 NACs

State to draft plan for phasing out vehicles older than 15 years from 7 NACs
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Kolkata: The state Environment department is coming up with an action plan to gradually phase-out vehicles older than 15 years from 7 non-attainment cities (NAC) in the state to curb pollution. The department has planned to offer Rs 1 lakh subsidy to the first 1,000 vehicles for switching over to new four-wheelers.

"A budget of Rs 10 crore has been earmarked for the purpose," Member Secretary of West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) Rajesh Kumar said at a webinar on Environment Partnership Summit organised by ICC.

The banning order is being implemented only in Kolkata.

The National Green Tribunal has directed concerned governments to take adequate measures for curbing pollution in 124 non-attainment cities (NACs) across the country, which are not complying with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Seven of these NACs are located in Bengal.

The non-attainment cities in Bengal are Kolkata, Howrah, Barrackpore, Haldia, Asansol, Durgapur and Raniganj. An official in the department said they had already sought a list of such vehicles running in these non-attainment areas.

"We have to carry out the phasing out exercise of vehicles in phases as we need to have dumping grounds for such vehicles. Talks are also on to find out whether some parts of the phased-out vehicles can be recycled," the officials added.

WBPCB has recently held a meeting with the urban local bodies and police administration associated with these non-attainment cities on January 7.

The WBPCB has also started providing gas ovens and gas irons to the roadside eateries and iron shops in the NACs for replacing coal 'chullahs' and coal irons. "Raniganj, Durgapur and Asansol are located in the coal belt. So, it is difficult to convince the concerned persons to switch over to gas ovens or gas iron. So, in these three places we will be providing smokeless chulhas for checking pollution," a senior WBPCB official said.

The Environment department is expected to submit its action plan to the green bench at a hearing in this matter scheduled on January 18. The plan has already been approved by the Central Pollution Control Board.

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