Take us into confidence before buying diesel buses, HC tells BMTC

Take us into confidence before buying diesel buses, HC tells BMTC

The High Court on Thursday directed the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to take the court into confidence before finalising the purchase of any new diesel engine buses.

The vacation bench comprising Justices Anand Byrareddy and Ravi Malimath passed an order on the interlocutory application (IA) filed in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to convert all buses run by KSRTC and BMTC to CNG (compressed natural gas) and LPG ( liquid petroleum gas) within a timeframe fixed by the court.

The IA was filed following a report published in Deccan Herald on the state government permitting BMTC to raise a loan to buy 1,000 new diesel buses. The state government in the previous hearing had stated that it is planning to convert all the buses into CNG in a phased manner. A division bench hearing the PIL had granted three weeks time to file objections.

The petitioner, advocate Vinay Shivanand Naik has contended that due to the increasing air pollution, 36 % of Bengaluru’s children were experiencing significant health problems and 84 % have affected lung capacity. The petition says the young, elderly and poor are most affected by the spiralling levels of air pollution in the city.

In 2004, in a petition filed by Karnataka Lorry Malikara Okkuta, the High Court had directed the state government to evolve some scheme to give sufficient time to vehicle owners to replace old vehicles in a phased manner and to have their vehicles converted to CNG fuel. But till date, no action has been taken by the state government, the petition contended.

The petitioner says that studies conducted by scientists at Tel Aviv University on pollution trends for 189 mega cities by analysing 8-year data from three of NASA’s high–tech aerosol monitoring satellites, shows that Bengaluru witnessed a 34 % increase in aerosol concentration (air pollution) from 2002 to 2010.  The PIL has sought directions to keep petition pending and to monitor the implementation of the court orders periodically.

‘Don’t sack contract staff’

The vacation bench of the High Court has asked the state government not to terminate the services of 254 contract employees of Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited and Hescom.

A division bench comprising Justice Anand Byrareddy and Justice Ravi Malimath passed the order on a petition filed by the contract employees. They had sought directions from the court not to terminate their services before giving effect to the orders of the single judge.

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