Smog Digest

Smog digest is a news service on vehicular pollution based on news clippings selected from leading Indian newspapers and newsmagazine. It also highlights the key developments from South Asian countries. The months witnessed lots of action and developments on the vehicular pollution front in India.

January - February 2011

Air pollution in Indian cities
Air pollution, SPM add to winter chill: Increasing levels of air pollution in the state is also proving to be a major contributor to the formation of dense fog and low day temperatures in winters. Aerosols or Suspended Particle Matter (SPM) emitted by vehicles and industries in the air combine with the moisture content in the atmosphere to increase the density of the fog, which lasts for a longer period. The fog thus formed bars penetration of sun rays leading to fall in temperatures during the daytime. According to the UP Pollution Control Board, the SPM level in major cities of the state is three to five times than the standard limit of 60 micrograms per cubic metre. The cities mainly responsible for high vehicular and industrial pollution are Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Varanasi, Jhansi, Allahabad, Meerut, Ghaziabad and Noida.
Source: The Times of India, Lucknow, January 9, 2011.


Nip in air pushes up pollution level: It's been chillier this winter but the chill has been accompanied by a disconcerting rise in pollution levels. The particulate matter (PM10) count in Kolkata's environment has registered a steep rise compared to last January when it had dropped, thanks to pre-1993 vehicles bowing out of the streets. Readings taken by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) show a 40-42 microgram per cubic metre rise in particulate matter count which is quite substantial, according to experts. A combination of polluting vehicles staging a comeback, construction activities and fall in temperature is being held responsible for the heightened pollution level. A comparison of WBPCB figures reveals that while the average particulate matter count was between 160 and 188 mg per cubic metre during January 6-9 in 2010, it ranged from 210-238 mg this year. Nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, however, have risen just marginally.
Source: The Times of India, Kolkata, January 15, 2011


Air pollution rises as mercury dips: Over 45 lakh population of the city survives under the thick blanket of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) as dust pollution increases during winters. The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board reports show that SPM and RSPM in the city have crossed the permissible limit. Against the bearable upper limit of 100 micro gram per cubic metre, the level of RSPM in the city has been measured at 227 micro gram per cubic metre, which was 20 micro gram more than figures recorded in 2009. The SPM level in the densely populated areas of the city was recorded as high as 478 micro gram per cubic metre, which is two times more than the bearable upper limit. According to weather experts, increase of dust particles in the air is common during winters due to reduced humidity. The current humidity level, which is less than 50 per cent, has lead to the drying of the soil surface that has resulted in increased SPM and RSPM.
Source: The Times of India, Kanpur, January 16, 2011,


Kanpur tops air pollution chart: Increasing levels of air pollution is once again making its presence felt in Kanpur, the largest city in Uttar Pradesh thanks to a major contribution from the industries. According to the national summary report on air quality monitoring, emission inventory and source apportionment study for Indian cities of the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Kanpur registered increase in air pollution levels due to particulate matter. The report is based on the monitoring done at six cities -- Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Pune, Chennai and Bangalore. Under the project, 7 to 10 monitoring stations with one at background and two each in residential, traffic, industrial/commercial locations were selected in each city. At least 20 to 30 days of monitoring was done for each of the three seasons; summer, post/pre-monsoon and winter.
Source: The Times of India, Lucknow, January 19, 2011.


Why you're breathless in Bangalore: The air that you breathe in is laced with benzene, and if you choked on that, here is another hard home truth: there is no solution to the benzene breath as long as diesel generator sets are pumping out energy to sustain economic activity. Erratic power supply, which is a bugbear for both industry and the homemaker, is giving rise to the increasing use of diesel generators (DG). There are thousands operating on any given day in Bangalore. There is another, bigger evil. Construction activity is kicking up enough dust to blanket the city, with 2,000-odd government sites where construction activity is underway to make Bangalore beautiful. A source apportionment study completed last month by the Central Pollution Control Board across six cities in India, reveals that the level of benzene is high in Bangalore, and that DG sets are the major culprits for the polluted air.
Source: The Times of India, Bangalore, January 20, 2011.


Bad for health: If people want to breathe better quality air in the city, steps like paved roads, effective mass transport, tightening of emission norms, uninterrupted power supply to eliminate generators and a ban on 10-year-old vehicles will have to be taken. These were the key recommendations of the action plan for Pune in the study on air quality taken up by the Central Pollution Control Board. It was supported by the ministry of environment and forests. The monitoring, done in 2007 in Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kanpur and Chennai, showed that all six cities had exceeded the respirable particulate matter (PM 10) limits. The report, compiled in 2009 and released by the ministry of environment and forests in early January, has an action plan for all six cities. Contributors to PM 10 emissions are vehicles, road dust and industries.
Source: The Times of India, Pune, January 22, 2011.


City gets its 1st air quality monitoring station: The city got its first air quality monitoring station (AQMS) under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAAQP) on Wednesday. Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), S P Gautam inaugurated the station at pollution testing laboratory, Saket Nagar, in the city. The AQMS has been set up to begin regular monitoring of the air quality in Varanasi under the expert guidance of B D Tripathi, coordinator of Centre for Environmental Science and Technology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Tripathi is also a member of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). Tripathi said that the station is equipped with instruments like high volume sampler and respirable dust sampler, which would enable round-the-clock monitoring of ambient air quality as per the guidelines under NAQMP.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, February 2, 2011


City still breathing contaminated air: The city's rising temperatures have done little to reduce pollution levels. On the contrary pollution, which generally rises with a dip in mercury, has been exceptionally high especially in the western suburbs from the time temperatures started rising a few days ago. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) said pollution levels have been consistently increasing in the western suburbs and are fluctuating between high and very high in the central suburbs. Recordings at the air quality station in Kherwadi show the current suspended particulate matter (SPM) levels to be more than three times above normal. The SPM levels recorded in the area were above 320 micrograms per cubic metre since February 1. "The normal limit is 100 micrograms in one cubic metre of air," said Rakesh Kumar, regional director of National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI)."
Source: The Times of India, Mumbai, February 4, 2011.


Govt study ignores SUVs' contribution to air pollution: CSE: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh might have condemned the misuse of subsidised diesel for consumption in luxury cars, but a study by a Government institute ignores their contribution to air pollution, the Centre for Science and Environment claimed today. The CSE, which analysed the Environment Ministry's recently released six-city study on air pollution sources, said it has found "flaws" in the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) studies of Delhi and Mumbai and criticised the auto industry for "misusing the study to derail tighter emissions standards and encourage polluting diesel cars." The NEERI studies of Delhi and Mumbai "show vehicles be the lowest for emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM)," said Anumita Roychowdhury, CSE's executive director-research and advocacy and head of its air pollution control unit.
Source: The Economic Times, New Delhi, February 8, 2011.


CSE finds fault with MoEF's six-ciy air pollution study: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) questioned the environment ministry's six-city study on air pollution on Tuesday, claiming it grossly underestimated automobile pollution. The Delhi-based NGO said the auto industry is taking advantage of this bias in the report, quoting it selectively to derive maximum mileage. The sector is claiming that its diesel fleet is clean and not responsible for air pollution in metros like Delhi and Mumbai. CSE questioned the methodology behind the study -- conducted by NEERI for the environment ministry -- claiming it had under-reported the pollution load of certain kinds such as particulate matters smaller than 10 microns and 2.5 microns as well as Nox. CSE said the study incorrectly blamed LPG and road dust for the Capital's air pollution.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, February 9, 2011.
Health impacts
Pollution hastens skin ageing: Every woman desires a smooth, supple and healthy skin. But industrial and vehicular pollution in Ludhiana is robbing their skin of its sheen and triggering early aging problems among young girls. Doctors say the number of such patients seeking medication is on the rise. A Dayanand Medical College and Hospital dermatologist, Alka Dogra, says, Nearly 20 young girls visit the hospital every week with complains of blemishes and pigmentation. Pollutants in the air cause redness, dryness and wrinkles on the exposed area. Pollution control department should check the increasing pollution here.'' Apollo hospital skin specialist Jaspinder Gill says there are some skin ailments that are common in Ludhiana, like pigmentation on face, patchy skin, itching and other signs of aging. I have observed that young girls here have various skin ailments perhaps they have a sensitive skin,'' Gill adds.
Source: The Times of India, Ludhiana, January 6, 2011.


Asthma incidence on the rise: The number of asthma patients is on the rise in one of the most polluted cities of the country -- Ludhiana. Exposure to dust and pollution is said to be its main cause, with most of the patients being men. Dayanand Medical College and Hospital vice-principal Jagdeep Whig told TOI, ''Nearly 80 patients visit OPD with chest blockage and 30% of them are those suffering from asthma. There aren't any exact reasons for its spread among city residents, though high air pollution is one of its major causes. Air pollution in Ludhiana includes industrial and vehicular pollution and its chief components are sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide. As the city is extremely polluted, its residents are more prone to the disease.'' ''Change of weather exposes most of them to the ailment and the number of such patients increases from February to April,'' he added.
Source: The Times of India, Ludhiana, February 4, 2011.
Fuel and vehicle technology

Ministerial body under PM to be set up to jumpstart electric car market: A ministerial body will be set up under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to jumpstart the electric and hybrid car market in the country. The National Council on Electric Mobility will consider incentives to make green vehicles a viable option for two-wheeler and car buyers. A national policy for electric vehicles, finalised after 14 months of consultations, spells out several measures to push green cars, including direct subsidies, concessional excise duties and income tax sops. "A multi-pronged approach is needed so that electric cars become viable for users," a senior government official said. "Customers must be free of their main fear that if they run out of charge, their cars will be stranded," he said.
Source: The Economic Times, New Delhi, January 13, 2011.


ARAI engines evoke interest from OEMs: City-based the Automotives Research Association of India (ARAI) has developed three high-power engines for the commercial vehicles segment which have evoked interest from several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from India and abroad. Shreekant Marathe, director, ARAI, told the media on Monday that the organisation has developed the engines using in-house design and engineering capabilities. "The engines are now industry-ready and a few OEMs have shown interest in acquiring the design and technology from us," Marathe said. He said a 6-cyllindar engines that runs on a combination of hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG) has been developed by the ARAI team. The engine can meet emission targets set by Euro 5 norms and can be relevant for OEMs in heavy or light commercial vehicles, sports utility vehicles and three-wheelers, Marathe said.
Source: The Times of India, Pune, January 18, 2011.


Paying for diesel in subsidy and health: Indian socialism needs a new definition: where the rich are subsidized in the name of the poor. Let me explain. We know global oil prices are going through the roof. Indian oil companies, dependent as they are on importing some 80% of their crude are bleeding. The price of petrol has been raised, as the joke goes, to make it more expensive than beer. This also means that the differential between petrol and diesel price has grown. It makes even more sense for the next car buyer to buy an expensive personal car – perhaps even a Mercedes Benz – but run it on diesel. It even makes more sense to buy a fuel guzzling SUV and run it on subsidized diesel. Today, according to the government's own estimates, the use of diesel in personal vehicles has zoomed – some 15% of the current consumption is in passenger cars.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, January 21, 2011.


CNG-electric hybrid buses make city debut today: The city will get its first CNG-electric hybrid buses on Thursday. BEST will initially introduce two of the buses on a month-long trial basis and later order more depending on the feedback. The buses have low operating costs, better fuel efficiency, low noise levels and zero emission. Each 35-seater bus also has additional facility to accommodate a passenger on a wheelchair. "The bus has a ramp at the entrance and can tilt a few degrees (towards the door) to enable a passenger in a wheelchair board the vehicle without an escort," said an official from Tata Motors, which has made the buses. For now the buses will ply on two routes, AS-440 (Wadala to Borivli) and AS-503 (Wadala to Kalamboli). "We will check the roadworthiness of these buses and then place orders for them," BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta said.
Source: The Times of India, Mumbai, February 3, 2011.

Alternative Fuels

Volvo expects to roll out CNG buses by third quarter: Swedish bus maker Volvo on Wednesday said it expected to introduce CNG variant of its 8400 city buses in the country by the third quarter of the year. Mumbai and Delhi could possibly be the cities where the CNG variant would be rolled out first, a top official of Volvo Bus Corporation (VBC) president Hakan Karlsson said. He, however, refused to divulge any details of order book for the same. The buses, which were undergoing field trials in Delhi, are expected to cost 15 to 20 per cent more than the current diesel version, he said. The buses, to be built at Volvo's Hoskote facility, are expected to help the company garner better share of the city bus segment in the country. The bus maker also said that it has the hybrid technology platform in place.
Source: The Economic Times, Bangalore, January 12, 2011.


City to get CNG buses from April this year: Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses will hit the city roads on April 15 this year. Announcing this, Bhure Lal, chairman, Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Control Authority (EPCA), on Wednesday said that the city would also get 14 gas filling stations to ensure smooth functioning of this fleet of 350 buses. Even domestic supply of CNG would also be taken up in the next few months, he added. In Hyderabad to review the progress on the `Action plan for improvement of air quality in Hyderabad', a project that was initiated in October 2010, Lal said that an immediate shift to CNG from diesel and petrol along with a strong Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) was necessary to address the pollution woes of the city. He said, "EPCA aims to strengthen the public transport system as it helps to reduce pollution levels as we have seen in cities like Ahmedabad and Delhi."
Source: The Times of India, Hyderabad, January 13 2011,


LPG, CNG driven cars gain in importance: Hike in the price of petrol in December 2010 was enough to make people realise that petrol as a fuel had started costing dear and it was high time to look for other alternatives. This view can be substantiated from the fact that car showroom owners have started receiving more and more queries for vehicles that can run on LPG and CNG. Not only this, diesel-run vehicles are also up in demand. "Though petrol-run cars are readily available at our showroom, if you want to go for a duo-petrol and CNG run car, the waiting period is around 45 days. The demand in this segment has increased since petrol price rise in December last year and the fresh price hike will for sure increase demand for CNG and LPG vehicles," said the sales manager of an authorised dealer of cars in Fazalganj.
Source: The Times of India, Kanpur, January 16, 2011.

Soon to hit road: BMTC’s fleet of ‘green’ buses: Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is soon going to implement its environment-friendly bus service. Plans to blend ethanol with diesel to ply buses will now see the light of the day. “We have been working on the idea to reduce pollution by blending 7.7% of ethanol in its denatured spirit form with one litre of diesel. To start with, we have identified 100 buses from our entire fleet, but the additional infrastructure which the buses need to be fitted with will take three more months,” said Arun J Chakravarthy, director (security, vigilance and environment), BMTC. Two years ago, the group of ministers headed by Pranab Mukherjee recommended that 10% of ethanol to be used with other fuel in all states by October 2008.
Source: Daily News & Analysis, Bangalore, February 7, 2011.
In-use vehicles
Illegal vehicles still polluting roads: Panel: Illegal vehicles are still plying and polluting city streets, said members of a government-appointed committee to monitor phasing out of commercial vehicles that are 15 years or older. The committee, chaired by chief secretary Samar Ghosh, met on Wednesday to review the progress in implementing the Calcutta High Court order on phasing out old vehicles. The panel was formed in July 2008. Despite the government facilitating the replacement of 21,000 autos, many autorickshaws ply illegally in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA). Fewer illegal autorickshaws ply within city limits monitored by Kolkata Police. But polluting autorickshaws continue to ply in the city's fringes though the state government has no data on the number of banned three-wheelers.
Source: The Times of India, Kolkata, January 6, 2011.
Transportation and traffic

Lajpat Nagar to get country's first parking meters: Here's another solution to the parking mess in the city. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi government are planning to install parking meters in Lajpat Nagar market as part of a pilot project. This proposal is expected to rein in the increasing problems caused by the parking mafia. If the plan comes through, Delhi may become the only city in the country to have introduced parking meters for ensuring mechanised parking on the lines of top world cities. According to Delhi chief secretary, Rakesh Mehta, the government agencies are in dicussion with a Dubai-based company for this project. "The proposal to install parking meters was made by the Automobile Association of India. According to them, installing parking meters will help resolve the problems faced by MCD during auctioning of parking sites. We want to start with a pilot project in Lajpat Nagar as that area is a complete mess as far as parking is concerned,'' said Mehta.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi, January 11, 2011.


Cycle rickshaws off key roads soon: In an attempt to streamline traffic on congested and busy stretches like the Central Avenue, Wardha Road, Kamptee Road, North Ambazari, West High Court road, Residency Road and Dhantoli, the city traffic police is planning to put a ban on the movement of cycle rickshaws on these routes. While confirming the development, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Sahebrao Patil refused to elaborate on the plans. However, sources in the traffic police department said that a notification would soon be issued. The decision is being taken following a study conducted by the traffic department sometime ago. It revealed that cycle rickshaws not only disobey traffic rules and regulations but also hamper the smooth flow of vehicular movements in many important roads of the city. A traffic cop, requesting anonymity, said, "The cycle rickshaw drivers do not even bother about the safety of passengers. There is absolutely no check on them."
Source: The Times of India, Nagpur, January 19, 2011.


Soleckshaws show the way on city roads, have you taken a ride yet?: The Millennium City is fast emerging as a preferred location for introducing new modes of transport, be it Tuk-Tuk or Pink Autos. This time around it is turn of the battery operated rickshaws, also called soleckshaw, to make their mark on city roads. Painted in yellow and with black leather seats, solar-electric rickshaw (soleckshaw) can ply at 20kmph, faster than the usual cycle rickshaws. Equipped with novel features like mobile charger, newspapers, mineral water and shock absorber, this pedicab is easy to drive without any strain of imbalance, which all of the current cycle rickshaws suffer from. A city based NGO Uthaan in collaboration with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is putting these soleckshaws on roads as viable alternative for ordinary rickshaws.
Source: The Times of India, Gurgaon, January 21, 2011.


MSRTC may again run city bus service: Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, that just four years ago dumped the city bus service it was running, has reportedly again evinced interest in operating the service, especially the fleet of 240 buses sanctioned under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for Nagpur Municipal Corporation. "MSRTC, which has re-launched city bus service operations in cities like Nanded, Nashik and Aurangabad where private bus operators failed to run the show, is ready to operate the 240 buses in Nagpur too," a senior MSRTC official from Mumbai told TOI. The matter apparently came up for discussion in the meeting of MSRTC and NMC official over handing over of Mor Bhavan bus stand for city bus operations.
Source: The Times of India, Nagpur, January 26, 2011.


PMPML gets 30 new buses for BRTS: At long last the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has received 30 buses procured under JNNURM, with doors on both sides, two on the left and one on the right. The buses, which will run on CNG, have been procured specifically for the BRT routes in Pimpri-Chinchwad where bus-stops are on the right side of the road. The buses have the capacity to seat 33 and the number of people allowed to stand will be decided by the Regional Transport Office. The buses are white with a pink stripe. According to PMPML officials, the buses will have to be okayed by the RTO. Meanwhile, a plan will be made to decide the schedule of the buses on the various routes. The PMPML is in the process of buying 650 buses under the JNNURM scheme, 500 buses for Pune city and 150 for Pimpri-Chinchwad. Of the 650 buses, 150 have been procured. The buses also have wheelchair access.
Source: The Times of India, Pune, January 22, 2011.


No rickshaws on arterial roads during Games: During National Games next month, the district administration has decided to keep rickshaws off busy arterial roads to avoid any discomfort to the players and visitors. At a meeting of police, the district administration and transport officials, it was decided that rickshaws which are one of the major reasons of traffic snarls on the busy roads be put off the roads. However, it was decided that rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and other three-wheelers can ply on bylanes and other roads "not of immense importance". SSP Praveen Kumar Singh said no three-wheelers of over 10 years of age would be allowed to ply in the state capital. "Three-wheelers with only valid papers and permits will be allowed to ply in the city and that too on specified routes for which permits have been issued by the district administration," said Singh.
Source: The Times of India, Ranchi, January 28, 2011


Public transport system: Chennai has miles to go: What can the Chennai learn from success stories in the operation of public transport buses in neighbouring States? Actually, a lot, according to a report submitted recently to the State government. Three technical teams made up of officials from various State transport undertakings of Tamil Nadu visited Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to study best practices in urban mobility. The report which is a product of the visits recommends various steps such as privatising maintenance, complete automation of ticketing through the use of Electronic Bus Ticketing Machines, and increasing the range and availability of daily travel passes. The study on the urban transport plan adopted by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is especially revealing. While the Metropolitan Transport Corporation has an operational limit of 50 km and caters to 57 lakh commuters a day, its operational fleet is only 2,980 buses.
Source: The Hindu, Chennai, February 1, 2011.


Hop off the Metro, hop on to Bangalore Metropolitan Transport bus: If you think the onset of the Metro Rail in Bangalore will ease your commuting, what Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has planned will almost be luxury for you, which could well tempt you to leave your private transport back home to reach your destination. Not just that, the BMTC ticket fares as well as the integrated ticket rates for Metro-BMTC have been released to the public. BMTC has already finalised 26 feeder bus routes around the six Metro stations along the Byappanahalli—MG road metro corridor, which is the Reach 1 of the Metro Rail project. The routes will revolve exclusively around the Metro stations and to and fro the routes will be shaped as the figure ‘8’. BMTC will deploy a total of 64 buses plying on a 10-minute frequency from each of the six stations of Reach 1 from Byappanahalli to MG Road from the day the metro is thrown open to public – most probably in March.
Source: Daily News & Analysis, bangalore, February 2, 2011.


KSRTC to roll out more Volvo buses: Encouraged by the warm response extended by Kochiites to the air-conditioned low-floor Volvo buses introduced under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme, the Kerala Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is planning to introduce the remaining quota of buses in the city. If sources are to be believed, the state-run RTC is planning to roll out the remaining set of buses, including those allotted to Thiruvananthapuram, in Kochi. At present, of a total of 80 buses allotted to the cities under the scheme, 30 low-floor AC buses are plying on the Kochi roads while 18 are running in Thiruvananthapuram. “The average income from Kochi is `42 per km while in Thiruvananthapuram it is only `28.
Source: The New Indian Express, Kochi, February 3, 2011.


DTC revenue goes up: The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is striking rich, thanks to most of the Blueline buses being off the Capital's roads. On Tuesday, the DTC surpassed Delhi Metro in revenue collection. The Corporation registered a record revenue collection of Rs 3.3 crore in a single day. So far, average fare collection of DTC had been recorded at around Rs 2.5 crore while Delhi Metro's average cash collection is nearly Rs 2.75 crore. A senior DTC official told MiD DAY it was the highest collection DTC has ever made on a single day. The Corporation has a fleet of nearly 6,500 buses. "On Tuesday, 5,500 buses were sent out and in the evening schedule the number of buses was 4,500 buses," he said. " While it collected Rs 19 lakh from outsourcing buses to schools, Rs 2.87 crore was collected by ferrying passengers and Rs 21 lakh from concessional passes which DTC offers to diverse categories on Tuesday," the official added.
Source: Mid Day, New Delhi, February 3, 2011.

In Court

High Court asks UT to ease traffic conditions: Expressing concern over the rising menace of traffic chaos in the city beautiful, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Chandigarh Administration and Traffic Police to make efforts to ease the condition of traffic in southern sectors of the city. Justice Rajive Bhalla also ordered that a meeting of the newly constituted Road Safety Council should be held in the first week of January. Meanwhile, Sanjay Kaushal, senior standing counsel for UT Administration today placed on record an affidavit of the Chandigarh Traffic Police. The affidavit of Chandigarh Superintendent of Police (SP) H S Doon has several recommendations for the Administration. “The Traffic police have recommended the construction of slow carriageways/ cycle tracks along Vikas Marg, which is the busiest southern sector.
Source: The Indian Express, Chandigarh, January 24, 2011.


Blueline buses get fresh lease of life: The capital's Blueline buses, dubbed "killer buses" because of their reckless drivers, have earned a fresh lease of life. They were to be withdrawn from the roads Monday. Nearly 800 privately-owned and run Blueline buses will continue to run in Delhi in February after the Delhi High Court Monday directed the Delhi government not to ban vehicles whose permits had not expired. A division bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Suresh Kait pulled up the transport department for bringing out a notification dated Jan 28 which banned the buses on city roads from Jan 31. The court permitted the operators to run their buses till the pronouncement of final judgment - on the bus owners' plea - which was reserved Jan 20. The buses, blamed for hundreds of deaths on city roads, were supposed to be phased out Jan 31.
Source: The Economic Times, New Delhi, January 31, 2011.


Govt's action plan to tackle illegal parking soon: The state government, in its undertaking to the AP High Court on Friday, said it would put in place an action plan within four weeks to address traffic snarls being caused by illegal parking on city roads. This would be done by coordinating with GHMC and the traffic police. It may be recalled that Justice N V Ramana of the High Court on Thursday summoned top officers of Hyderabad and Cyberabad traffic wings to explain the measures they were taking to curb illegal parking. C V Anand, head of traffic wing of city and Chandrasekhar Reddy, DCP (traffic) of Cyberabad appeared in the court on Friday. While hearing a writ petition filed by Model Space Owners Associations, complaining that the GHMC was collecting charges for parking on the private properties of their associations, the court appointed an advocate commissioner.
Source: The Times of India, Hyderabad, February 5, 2011.

South Asian countries

Meeting discusses CNG bus project: Meeting of the Steering Committee on Shaheed Benazir Bhutto CNG Bus Project was held under the chairmanship of Environment Secretary Javed Malik here on Friday. During the meeting several aspects of this CNG Bus project were discussed. It was observed in the meeting that government has been trying to tackle the worsening transport and environment problems through such subsidy programme in different mega cities of Pakistan. The latest progress of this project was analyzed and different proposals and suggestions were given to streamline the related issues of this project. Moreover, financial modalities, role of State Bank of Pakistan and other concerned matters were also highlighted on this occasion. It was observed that this CNG bus project was in the interest of community welfare so it should be initiated as soon as possible.
Source: Daily Times, Islamabad, January 8, 2011.


License Quota Forces Car Dealers to Shift Gears: Car dealerships in Beijing may opt to shift their focus on boosting sales to neighboring cities after the municipal government imposed an annual quota on new car license plates as part of efforts to ease traffic gridlock in the capital city. Some car dealerships, especially of domestic brands, are making plans to expand sales to areas outside Beijing where the policy restriction does not apply, the China Business Times reported. The new limit means buyers will favor high-end and luxury types of cars once they obtain the hard-to-get licenses. Domestic brands and small cars, which sell mostly at below 100,000 yuan, will see lower sales in Beijing, the newspaper article said. The policy stipulates that buyers of secondhand cars must go through the monthly lottery system to obtain a license and sellers of used cars will see their license annulled in a year if they make no new purchases.
Source:, January 14, 2011.


China urged to improve air monitoring: More changes are called for in China's air quality monitoring after 20 inland cities failed a test of indicators used to inform the public how the air pollution damages their health, according to a report released Wednesday, 21st Century Business Herald reported on Thursday. China lagged behind other major world cities in the Air Quality Information Transparency Index (AQTI) which measures the comprehensiveness of air quality indicators used in monitoring and public reporting. According to the report, released by the Law School of Renmin University and the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, 20 out of 30 cities in China failed to make the grade. Beijing scored highest in China with 38 points out of 100, but still way below the score of other international cities tested. Shanghai scored 37 and Guangzhou 33.2 points.
Source: The Straits Times, Singapore, January 20, 2011.


Private cars fill 70pc city roads: Public vehicles like bus; and cycling and walking must get priority over private vehicles to prevent perennial traffic congestion and air pollution in the capital, said environmentalists at a media briefing yesterday. The Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) along with Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh arranged the briefing on the challenge of urban air quality and mobility management. Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of CSE, said, "Use of the private cars must be restricted to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in cities like Dhaka." Citing the findings of Buet, Anumita said walking makes 62 percent share of the daily total trips in the city, rickshaws 13 percent, buses 10 percent, three-wheelers six percent and cars only four percent.
Source: The Daily Star, Dhaka, January 23, 2011.


Roadside vehicle emission tests soon: Vehicle testing teams from the Motor Traffic Department (MTD) will soon stop any vehicle that emits black smoke and conduct random emission checks with roadside vehicle emission testing to be introduced all over the country for the first time. The Department is in the process of procuring smog analyzers and opacity metres to conduct the operation, said Motor Traffic Department (MTD) Vehicle Emission Testing Project Director A W Dissanayaka. The roadside testing will be done with the assistance of the police or authorized personnel from MTD, Central Environment Authority and Measurement Unit and Standards Department, he said. Suitable test sites will be selected and vehicles will be pulled off the road at random to conduct acceleration tests to determine their exhaust emissions.
Source: Daily News, Colombo, January 31, 2011.