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Autos - help them to help ourselves

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Public Transport

Couple of months ago I read in paper about the government subsidy for auto rickshaws to change from 2 stroke to 4 stroke engine.  I felt that it was wonderful and very pro-active approach to reducing the pollution.   2 stroke engines pollute 4 times more than cars (because of the pre-mix of oil and gas and exhausting some of the mix without burning) and autos with 2 stroke engine would be one of the most polluting vehicles in Bangalore.  Also, since they give less mileage than 4 stroke engine (about 25 to 30% less), I thought it would be good incentive for auto drivers to change.

While travelling in autos in the last couple of months, I have asked several auto drivers why they are not changing to 4 stroke engines and everyone is negative on that subject.   Some of the reasons were

  1. It is not compulsory any more
  2. We need to pay first and get subsidy later
  3. It is difficult to get the loan
  4. We still have to put 15,000 after the subsidy and where will we find that kind of money.
  5. Some technical reasons – like parts are expensive, not everyone can repair 4stroke engine and that it is heavy etc.

These issues, I feel to some extent, are legitimate concerns of drivers and they may not really have incentive to change the engine.  Based on their economical as well as educational background, you cannot really expect them to be environmentally concerned.  Unless there is absolute necessity like a government order which would mandate them to change, they will not do anything. 

Government for their part think that they have done enough by announcing the subsidy.   Also, they (auto drivers) are a big vote bank and politicians do not want to mess with them.  The only people left would be citizens of Bangalore who have to suffer through this ordeal without any say.  With this stalemate, I am sure that it would take another 5 years before changes will happen.   Meanwhile, the pollution will kill lot of bangaloreans and the others, who unfortunately did not die, will suffer from respiratory diseases and other ailments.

It is time for Public to wake up and take necessary action to improve our own lives as government cannot do everything for us.  There is a need for a new paradigm where we involve ourselves not only in voicing the concerns but also help solve the issues.  In this auto issue, we can help by negotiating with the engine company (I think Bajaj) to give them good discount, facilitating the loans from the bank, speed up the subsidy from the government and provide some incentive to convert the engine sooner than later.  Also, help them change to new meter as well.     

When the IT/BT companies can come together and spend Rs3000 crores for an overhead road, I am sure they will be able to pitch in to improve the air quality in Bangalore by helping autos to get new clean and less polluting engine.  I am sure that this ‘Gandhigiri’ will not go waste as the auto drivers will go easy on us and may come where ever we want to go.


Bheema.Upadhyaya's picture

Now having many solar

163 users have liked.

Now having many solar companies in place, it would be great if some company like SELCO can pitch in (with help of government) to create solar battery charged auto-rickshaws.

I have see many battery operated vehicles operating within campus, why not create a passenger model. My own experiment with eBikes has made me to dig Praja. 

Lets discuss on cost feasibility of research and production and charging infrastructure. Any experts?

On lighter note: Original post is Mar-2010 with no comments. I guess this is not a rotten subject :-). Lets treat this as old wine, in stead:)



" My mantra to public bodies=> Enable->Educate->Enforce. Where does  DDC  fit?"
MaheshK's picture

There is a govt circular

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I have a copy of the govt circular dated 27/6/2011. Those 2-stroke autos that were registered before 1/4/2000 will be provided Rs. 15,000 subsidy. The last date is 31/3/2013. You can also refer to the previous praja post and the report from CiSTUP regarding Mitigating Air Pollution from Transportation Sources.

kbsyed61's picture

This sector needs help!

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What you have eluded to is part of the systemic problems that this sector is accumulating. This sector badly needs reform, makeover and human touch. Million dollar question is who should do it in first place? Who else will do it? Why will they do it.

The workforce or people involved in the autorikshaw business come from very humble background. There is hardly any cushion or luxury to take even a day off. I am sure none of them would like their children to take up this profession. That tells the whole story about this sector.

Many attempts have been made to lend some help. Most have failed and very few are still in existence like in Ahmedabad. Even though from outside it looks like this sector is very minuscule and rarely gets the eyeball of planners, policy makers, govt and social activist.

It will be interesting to do a study to know the economic quantification of this sector and what percentage of population is associated with this sector?

This sector needs 360 degree change

  • Changes in Motor Vehicle's Act 1988
  • Formalization of the service - Corporations, Co-operatives
  • Establishment of safety and eligibility criterion for Para-transit service vehicle operators
  • Establishment of a 'Multi-Modal Governing Agency'
  • Establishment of transparent system of permits and licensing regime for paratransit service

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