The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Transporter push to push back Bharat II deadline

Taking a cue from the state government, the transport lobby on Saturday decided to petition Calcutta High Court seeking more time to implement the court order on the implementation of Bharat Stage II norms by next April.

After a meeting with transport minister Subhas Chakraborty and senior government officials on Friday, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee made it clear that the government would approach the high court to seek more time on the implementation of the Bharat II norms to check auto emission.

Almost all transport organisations unanimously decided on moving court after a marathon meeting during the day. “We will form a joint action committee and file the appeal soon. We will try to convince the court about the problems of complying with the order,’’ said president of the joint council of bus syndicate Sadhan Das.

According to members of the transport lobby, there are scarcely 250 approved garages which have qualified technicians and other infrastructure to change engines of vehicles to conform to Bharat II norms. If one garage changes engines of five vehicles a day, it will take at least five years to complete the changeover, the members said.

Assuring transporters of government help in arranging bank loans for the purpose, transport minister Subhas Chakraborty said on Saturday: “We have been trying hard to convince the transport lobby to comply with the court order. The government will provide necessary assistance. But vehicle-owners are reluctant to invest in changing engines.”

The minister’s assurance, however, has not cut much ice among the transporters. Though some vehicle-owners agreed, they demanded a hefty fare hike. “In case of a bank loan, we have to pay the instalments every month. It is not possible from our existing income. If the government is ready to hike the fare, we are willing to invest in changing the engines of our vehicles,” a transporter said.

Caught again

Ali Imam, an escaped criminal, was caught in Bowbazar on Saturday. The 32-year-old had been lodged in Alipore jail after being arrested on charges of rioting a few months ago. He managed to escape near Aligarh while being taken to Delhi by South 24-Parganas police last week in connection with an attempt-to-murder case.

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