MCG may allow CNG autos in electric vehicle zone

MCG may allow CNG autos in electric vehicle zone

Members of autorickshaw unions have been protesting the ban of CNG autos in the zone and also seeking more time to replace diesel autorickshaws.

By Kartik Kumar, Gurugram

The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) is contemplating allowing autorickshaws running on compressed natural gas (CNG) to operate in the electric three-wheelers zone, which came into effect on August 16, following protests by drivers, officials familiar with the developments said on Monday.

Members of the Haryana Auto ChalakSangathan (drivers’ union) met with the MCG commissioner, Mukesh Kumar Ahuja, at the MCG office in Sector 34 regarding the civic body’s electric three-wheeler zone (ETWZ) that was flagged off by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

The zone covers areas of DLF Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4, DLF-5, Golf Course Road, Mall Mile, and Cyber City, where diesel or CNG autorickshaws have, so far, not been allowed to ply. The zone is reserved for e-rickshaws and e-autos, 600 of which were also flagged off last week, along with the launch of the electric zone.

A senior MCG official, wishing not to be named, said, “The pollution from CNG is far lower than diesel autorickshaws. It is one of the cleaner modes of public transport currently and we will issue a clarification later this week, allowing them to operate within the electric zone.”

However, a second MCG official said that the civic body had never disallowed CNG autorickshaws from operating in the electric zone.“The MCG never raised the issue of restricting the movement of CNG vehicles inside the ETWZ. Our concessionaire raised the issue stating that its plying would defeat the purpose of an ETWZ during a meeting with MCG officials, transport department and Gurugram traffic police last month. However, the same was never officially implemented or stated anywhere in writing,” the second MCG official, who had attended the meeting, said.

However, members of auto unions said that at certain stretches, especially on Hamilton Court Road, drivers of CNG autos have been penalised by the traffic police.

“Due to miscommunication, the MCG commissioner informed us that CNG autorickshaws were also added inadvertently and the same was also later announced by Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar during the project inauguration. The MCG commissioner assured us that the civic body will look into the matter and inform us about the final decision in a meeting with the union leaders later this week,” said Yogesh Sharma, state general secretary, Haryana Auto ChalakSanghatan.

According to the auto union members, Ahuja said that the idea behind MCG’s e-vehicle zone was to solely phase out diesel autos.

Currently, no diesel autos are allowed to enter ETWZ. The auto union is also pressing the MCG to grant diesel autorickshaw drivers more time to make the switch to e-three wheelers.

According to Sharma, around 9,000 CNG autos are operating in Gurugram. “We want the MCG’s decision to include CNG autos in writing. Until then, we will continue to pursue our demands. A group of leaders and drivers are meeting at the Leisure Valley Park in Sector 29 on Tuesday to take a call on whether to stage another round of protest or pursue the matter in other ways,” said Sharma.

Since the launch of the electric zone, autorickshaw union leaders and drivers have staged multiple protests at the Mini Secretariat.

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