The Environment Pollution Control Authority, a panel appointed by the Supreme Court, has directed autorickshaws and buses in seven districts of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to convert to CNG from diesel by June. People in these cities, which lack a metro network, are highly dependent on the public transport system. The body will make a decision on other districts, including Bulandshahr, Baghpat, Hapur, Mewat, Rohtak and so on, depending on the success of the current plan.

The drive to improve air quality in the National Capital Region was brought up in a meeting headed by EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal and attended by top officials from the central and Delhi governments and other officers. The seven districts were chosen by officials from the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, GAIL (India) Limited and Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), who attended the meeting. They were selected based on the availability of commercial contracts for CNG vehicles and an uninterrupted supply of the fuel. “At the moment, the SC order is restricted to vehicles with city permits. But CNG conversion should be extended to tourist buses as well,” Lal said.

The EPCA has been directed to oversee the implementation of the Supreme Court’s order on pollution control measures in the NCR. Its directions include banning the registration of luxury diesel vehicles with an engine capacity of 2000 cc and above in the NCR till March 31, not permitting trucks older than 10 years to enter Delhi, and making it mandatory for all diesel-run taxis in the NCR to switch to CNG by March 1.