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Fresh HC prod on rogue auto ban

Jharkhand High Court on Monday once again directed the government to free Ranchi’s roads of smoke-belching auto-rickshaws, plying within city limits without permits.

The Bench of Chief Justice Prakash Tatia and Justice Jaya Roy was hearing a PIL by one Rajneesh Mishra on increasing pollution in the capital, caused primarily by these diesel-fuelled three-wheelers.

The court also directed the special committee — constituted by it for the case — to find out what the required number of auto-rickshaws and buses was to streamline the city’s public transport system.

The nine-member panel, formed on April 17, comprises transport secretary K.K. Khandelwal, divisional commissioner Surendra Singh, regional transport authority secretary Uday Pratap, additional advocate-general Ajit Kumar, senior advocate Sohail Anwar, advocate Delip Jerath, Ranchi deputy commissioner V.K. Choubey, Ranchi Municipal Corporation CEO Dipankar Panda and SP (traffic) C.S. Prasad.

In the past, the committee had presented a report stating that only 2,300 autos had valid permits, while 6,000 more ply in the city without necessary documents. It will table a fresh report by October 30, when the matter will be heard again.

The court has exempted interstate buses from scrutiny by the transport department on their “road-worthiness”. It observed that the matter of autos was more concerning.

It also directed the government to file an affidavit on steps being taken to find land for green gas stations for autos in Ranchi and in the state.

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