Delhi: Why no reissue of CNG cab permits, asks EPCA
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) will write to the Delhi transport department on not reissuing permits to CNG taxis after five years. In an EPCA meeting on Friday, its members said the Delhi government was destroying a Supreme Court order by misinterpreting it. “Why are CNG cars being phased out in five years like diesel? Need an official response from the transport department,” EPCA member Sunita Narain said. In May 2016, the Supreme Court had ordered a gradual phase-out of diesel taxis from the national capital region (NCR) and said they could operate until the expiry of their permits. New licences should not be given for diesel taxis in NCR and those with all-India tourist permits (AITP) may operate till their permits expire, the court had said. While diesel taxis are not allowed in NCR, the Supreme Court had allowed diesel cabs running on AITPs with the existing fleet converted to AITP-O (old) and having only a limited life, while the new AITP taxis being registered as AITP-N (new), which can be registered on petrol, CNG, dual fuel and on diesel only with an affidavit stating that these will not offer point-to-point services in NCR. “We are receiving complaints from AITP operators that the Delhi transport department is not renewing CNG permits, too, after five years. In no way has the court said that CNG AITP taxis will not be renewed. If the transport department doesn’t accept it, we will take it to court and sort it out,” Narain said at the meeting called to discuss possible actions against diesel vehicles plying in NCR, starting with commercial ones. A transport department official submitted that there were around 11,088 AITP-O and 4,137 AITP-N diesel vehicles registered in Delhi. The number of CNG-run vehicles will be submitted in the next meeting. Two weeks ago, EPCA had said that it may impound violating vehicles as well. “No diesel-based taxis will have the alighting point or boarding point in NCR. If any are found to be operating without them being disclosed, they will straight away be impounded and their licences be cancelled. According to our estimate, almost 70,000 diesel-based taxis are still operating in NCR, which is a big number,” said EPCA chairman Bhure Lal had said.