Patna: In view of the ban on diesel-run city buses in Patna, Danapur, Khagaul and Phulwarisharif from September 30 midnight, the transport department has geared up to ensure regular supply of compressed natural gas (CNG) to 20 more fuel stations in the city by 2024. At present, only four fuel stations have this facility.
Transport secretary Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said, “Diesel-run city buses emit more toxic pollution which adversely affects the health of the citizens and largely impact the environment. In view of public safety and environment protection, the operation of diesel buses would be banned in a phased manner. In future, it can be extended to other areas of Patna district and across the state.”
He said, “The operation of CNG buses in city will reduce the pollution level. The buses will be operated on the designated routes and those operating currently in city area can be shifted to other routes outside the city area. The department has directed the petroleum companies for laying wide network of CNG pipelines in order to avoid long queues of CNG vehicles at fuel stations.”
Agarwal said the diesel powered autos were already banned in Patna. “Now, in order to replace diesel buses, the state government is providing 30% subsidy or Rs 7.5 lakh, whichever is higher on each CNG bus to be purchased under the ‘Bihar Clean Fuel Scheme-2023’. Under this scheme, 38 beneficiaries were selected on Thursday in Patna district. A total of 121 such beneficiaries will be selected in the district,” he added.
Ganesh Kumar alias Bittu, general secretary of Patna City Bus Service Association, said, “It is not feasible for the owners to buy a 32-seat CNG bus, which costs around Rs 31.5 lakh, while a 24-seat costs Rs 26 lakh. The government will give a subsidy of only Rs 7.5 lakh, but the rest amount will have to be paid in an installment of around Rs 40, 000 per month. We have requested the government to give a grace period of six months, but it has not been provided yet,” he added.
Rajkumar Jha of All India Workers Road Transport Association said the government has already banned 9000 diesel powered auto-rickshaws. “Subsidies have been given for only 1000 autos. Now the 4000 diesel powered autos will not be allowed to ply in the city from October 1. The families of the transporters will suffer a lot with this decision of the government,” he added.