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JK to condemn above 15-yr-old buses to help environment

Srinagar, Dec 20: State Transport Department has decided to condemn the buses that are more than 15 years old under the proposed vehicle-scrapping policy in Jammu and Kashmir.
Normally the age of a commercial vehicle is 25 years, but the department has decided to condemn the buses sooner owing their contribution to environmental pollution.
An official in the department said the government has decided to pay Rs 5 lakh to each owner.
“The decision in this regard was taken by the authorities of the department in a meeting recently, after finding that the buses cause a lot of pollution,” he said.
Vehicle emissions contribute to rise in levels of toxic carbon-monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen-oxides, and particulate matter.
As per the official documents, the government has proposed to subsidise 500 new large buses in the private sector.
“Accordingly, Rs 25 crore has been provided in the budget. Transport Department in consultation with Finance Department will work out the modalities/guidelines in this regard,” the documents read.
Urban transportation particularly in the cities of Srinagar and Jammu cities comprise mainly of matadors.
The bus service in these two capital cities is “completely absent” causing increased traffic volume on the roads.
“In order to provide for low floor buses in these two cities, an initial sum of Rs 25 crore is to be provided in the budget. A decision would be taken regarding this new service to be run by SRTC or smart city corporation or altogether to a new company,” the documents read.
In the revised estimates for the current year, Rs 10 crore has been proposed to be provided largely for purchase of 45-50 new buses to be deployed largely in hill districts of the state.
“It is further proposed to provide Rs 25 crore for purchase of new buses by SRTC in 2019-2020 for plying on long routes. An additional Rs 2 crore each will be provided for purchase of buses for the districts of Leh and Kargil and Rs 1 crore for Gurez which remain landlocked for landlocked for half of the year,” the documents reads.
For the last four years, the SRTC has witnessed heavy losses and its assets are lying defunct. The number of Corporation’s buses has reduced to less than 900.