In a stride to make the city’s transport system environment friendly and curb the air pollution that has been a worrying the environmentalists and other Kolkatans alike, the the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has announced a subsidy of rupees one lakh for replacing the 1000 old taxis with electric cars. The subsidy will be given for each 1000 number of cars in place of the old taxis that have been one of the major sources of air pollution in the city.
A proposal, according to Mr Kalyan Rudra, chairman of WBPCB, has been received from the state transport department for providing the subsidy. “We have received a proposal from the state transport department for providing subsidy for 1000 vehicle owners to switch over to e-cars from their vehicles that do not comply with the latest standards of pollution norms required for plying on roads.
The department will also provide us with a report based on which we will be giving the subsidy,” informed Mr Rudra. In addition to the e-vehicles, the state PCB officials are now eying to minimise the use of coal-fed ovens used by roadside food vendors. The board has decided to allow them a subsidy for replacing the coal-fed ovens with electric ovens. For this, WBPCB has identified a list of vendors who still use the coal-fed chulhas.
According the board officials, while Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation has 1000 such chulhas, Howrah Municipal Corporation area includes 2500 coal-fed ovens that have been found to be another major air pollutant in the city. The details of such ovens under Kolkata Municipal Corporation are yet to be finalized. Although the board has a budget of Rs. 2crores, the amount may be increased if needed.
The WBPCB is also mulling over plans to bring down violations of guidelines at construction and demolition sites by using drones for monitoring. The initiative is being taken following increased number of such complaints, particularly near riversides.