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GMC strives for clean air
- Robin Bordoloi mulls environmentally sustainable transport plan
Green idea: Black fumes billowing out of vehicles may be a thing of the past

Nov. 17: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation has decided to take several initiatives to introduce environmentally sustainable transport system in the city to prevent air pollution.

GMC chief administrator Robin Bordoloi, who attended a convention on promotion of environmentally sustainable transport in Bangkok, today said he had spoken to several foreign participants and experts during the convention and held discussions on how to implement such transport system in the city.

The convention was organised by the United Nations Centre for Regional Development in Bangkok from November 12 to 14. Representatives from several countries, including Japan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Bangladesh and Nepal, as well as different states of India participated in the convention.

Bordoloi, who represented Assam, said the GMC would soon chalk out a detailed plan on how to promote environmentally sustainable transport to prevent air pollution. He returned to Guwahati from the three-day convention yesterday.

The corporation will approach the state government to introduce vehicles run on compressed natural gas (CNG), he added.

“CNG-run autorickshaws have been introduced in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Agra and Lucknow. I met some representatives of the municipal bodies from these cities and discussed the Guwahati case. The CNG autos can be run successfully in the city,” he said.

Haren Boro, a former GMC councillor, had formed the Janajati Tribal Sangha, a self-help group, last year to implement the scheme of running 18 autorickshaws on CNG on an experimental basis in Dispur, Ganeshguri and Kahilipara. The sangha had tied up with Shree Automobiles, an authorised dealer of Bajaj Auto Ltd, the State Bank of India and Assam Pakritik Taral Gas Agency to execute the project.

However, it did not yield much result. The self-help group had to bring CNG cylinders from Assam Pakritik Taral Gas Agency, based in Upper Assam, on a daily basis and then supply it to autorickshaws as there was no CNG refuelling station in the city.

The project also received set back because of high transport cost and constraints in regular supply of CNG cylinders from Upper Assam to Guwahati.

A source in the GMC said the project had not yet been implemented because of certain “technical” constraints. Bordoloi said the corporation would try to implement the project.

He said the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) could also try to operate CNG-run buses in the city as this would cut down on air pollution and save on fuel cost.

The GMC source said the Union urban development ministry had asked Dispur to entrust the GMC with more responsibilities to protect urban forestry, environment and ecology.

“Lack of open space and greenery has increased air pollution and triggered the residents’ respiratory problems. The GMC will have to take several initiatives, including plantation drive, in the days to come,” he added.

Bordoloi also said water bodies should be protected and open spaces created.

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