*The news story published on The Times of India, quoting CPPR Chairman, Dr. D. Dhanuraj’s comment on Motor Vehicles Department’s decision to stop issuing new permits for diesel and petrol autorickshaws and promote CNG-powered vehicles.

KOCHI: The decision to stop issuing new permits for diesel and petrol autorickshaws and promote CNG-powered vehicles has met with stiff resistance from those promoting public transport systems. They say the decision would adversely affect the last-mile connectivity as autorickshaws play a significant role in this sector.

The move is believed to have increased the use of two-wheelers and private cars.

The increasing price of petrol and diesel have made CNG-powered autorickshaws popular. Auto drivers in the city have already pointed out the shortage of CNG filling
stations within city limits.

Pointing out the need to bring out data regarding pollution caused by autorickshaws, centre for public policy research chairman D Dhanuraj said: “Though it is important to promote clean energy, one should be careful about the inadvertent consequences of the policy. We need to know what pollutes more in a city like Kochi, and who
implements these polices.”

According to motor vehicle inspector Bijulal P Ram, “the problem is not pollution, but traffic congestion”.

The policy makers should focus on making improved mobility as their goal.

“Only by improving the last-mile connectivity, can we provide seamless flow of traffic,” he added.

Meanwhile, S Gopakumar of Better Kochi Response Group, hinted at the “scope for corruption” while hastily implementing a decision not to issue new permits for autorickshaws powered by diesel and petrol. While Kochi is witnessing an increased interest in vehicles that run on CNG, places like New Delhi, which have already been
operating CNG-powered vehicles, are moving to hydrogen-CNG, which is considered a cleaner version of CNG.

*This news story can be also read at The Times of India’s website.

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