Pothashang News Service: Imphal, April 27, 2018: Drivers of diesel run passenger service auto rickshaw plying along the RIMS road today stopped their service protesting against the Manipur government’s decision to ban the diesel auto rickshaws and diesel vans in Imphal city to minimise pollution and congestion.
Chief minister Biren Singh and Traffic Regulation and Parking Committee (Imphal East and West) on Thursday decided to ban diesel auto rickshaw and diesel van plying towards Imphal during a meeting held at the chief minister’s Cabinet hall.
The chief minister had said the auto rickshaw and diesel van transports would be substituted by state bus service and to allow E-rickshaw. To procure 100 buses the state has earmarked Rs. 73 crores. More money will be sanctioned if required, he said.
The auto rickshaw drivers condemned the government’s decision of banning the diesel auto without providing an alternative means of living. They demanded to provide electric rickshaws on loan basis. Organised by the RIMS side diesel auto rickshaw administrative council, a sit-in was staged at Uripok Bachaspati Leikai.
Former secretary of Lamphel Shelf Employees said, Kh. Bota Luwang said the sudden decision of the government to ban our vehicles is like as if attempting not only to kill us but all the family members depending on us.
We know the government takes the decision to control pollution in the city. We began this means of livelihood as the state government permitted. The order to cut-off our livelihood without arranging an alternative means has socked us.
We procured our vehicles on loans and by selling our residing lands and paddy lands. “The government should provide us the E-rickshaw on loans without any condition. Please don’t hurt the sentiments of auto-drivers”, said Bota.
The government should collect our vehicles in their possession, fix a value and adjust it while providing loan for E-rickshaw. Over 1,000 auto rickshaws are plying along the RIMS road according to Bota.
We will table a memorandum to the government for our demand. If the government fails to respond we will take up intense form of agitations indefinitely until our demand is fulfilled, cautions the protesters. The protesting drivers asked the people to forgive them for stopping their service suddenly.
Scientists and engineers of Manipur Pollution Control Board conducted a test of pollution levels at BT Road, Governor Road and at Maharani Bridge in January.
According to the test, noise and air pollution caused by diesel auto rickshaws have crossed the permissible limits with the noise level exceeding 65 decibels.
Noise monitoring at BT Road between 1 pm and 2 pm recorded 73.5 db. Noise level recorded at Governor Road was 75.5 db. Out of 27 diesel auto-rickshaws tested, four were found emitting noise and smoke beyond the permissible limits.