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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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Smoke-belching APSRTC buses taken to court


Hyderabad: Concerned about the rising pollution in the city and the state, a local businessman has made a public interest litigation in the AP High Court seeking that the smokebelching APSRTC buses should embrace Euro II norms. The businessman, S Madduletti Reddy, who has filed the PIL on behalf of a California-based NRI, has argued in the petition that the state could clear the air people breathe in with a modest expenditure of Rs 60 crore.
Reddy has noted in his PIL that almost 11,000 AP state transport corporation buses do not comply with Euro II
norms, which were introduced in India a decade ago. According to various studies cited in the PIL, compliance with Euro II norms can drop air pollution levels by a minimum of 33 per cent.
The petitioner claims that
the state government has so far done little either in way of a policy or enforcement, to make these norms mandatory for diesel vehicles in AP that have been heavily polluting the air and putting the lives of lakhs of people to risk.
Incidentally, the Californiabased NRI responsible for the petition lost his mother to a medical condition aggravated by pollution.
“Diesel exhausts are toxins
and cause thousands of premature deaths annually. It also gives rise to asthma and other respiratory diseases,” the PIL states while accusing the government of being negligent towards the health of its citizens.
Apart from seeking the High Court’s intervention in the matter, the PIL also lists out low-cost solutions to check air pollution. According to rough calculations of the petitioner, the state government can bring over 100 APSRTC buses under the Euro II bracket, for the cost of just one new Volvo bus, which is about Rs 76 lakh. “It would cost the AP government not more than Rs 60 crore to fix the problem of pollution caused due to diesel vehicles in the state. Why is it hesitating,” the petitioner’s law firm argues.


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