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Two-stroke rickshaws to be banned from next year
City govt signs clean air deal with ADB -- Daily Times (23 Aug 2004)

LAHORE, PAKISTAN: Two-stroke engine rickshaws will be banned from January and only four-stroke engine rickshaws that work on compressed natural gas will be authorised to run in the city, Punjab Environment Minister Makhdoom Ishfaq Ahmed said on Wednesday on a visit to a rickshaw factory.

Mr Ahmed said at the Pak Hero Auto Rickshaw (PHAR) factory that the two-stroke engine rickshaws would be sent to smaller cities so drivers can still make a living.

Muhammad Javed, the owner of PHAR, told the minister his company would give four-stroke rickshaws on lease to the owners of two-stroke rickshaws and also fit four-stroke engines on two-stroke rickshaws at half price.

Mr Ahmed said that the owners of motorcycle rickshaws would be given three years to convert to four-stroke engines and no new motorcycle rickshaws would be registered during this period.

The Environment Protection Department has already presented a five-year action plan to the government to reduce vehicular pollution in four major cities of the Punjab.

The department suggested a ban on the import, manufacture and grant of route permits to two-stroke engine public service vehicles, especially auto rickshaws, in Lahore, Multan, Islamabad and Faisalabad.

The department proposed the gradual replacement of rickshaws with taxis running on CNG. Old CNG-fitted taxis could be issued route permits if they were in good condition.

Taxis have replaced rickshaws in Rawalpindi and could easily replace rickshaws in Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad, the department said. It also suggested the phasing out of buses running on diesel from July 2007 and replacing them with CNG buses.

Sources in the Environment Protection Department said two-stroke engine vehicles had been banned in many countries and even India had switched to CNG buses.

Diesel engines cause eight to 10 times more pollution than vehicles using petrol, and even more if mobile oil is mixed in with diesel, a practice common among some motorists. Apart from being more environment friendly, CNG rickshaws have a third of the operating cost, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the city district government has signed an agreement with Clear Air International for Asian Cities (Editor's note: It should be Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities.), which works under the Asian Development Bank (ADB), to control pollution in Lahore.

Glenda Batham (Editor's note: It should be Glynda Bathan), ADB project coordinator, and District Nazim Mian Amer Mahmood signed the agreement on Wednesday. Mr Mahmood told her that there were more than 35,000 rickshaws and 8,000 vans on Lahore’s roads. The city government, with the cooperation of industrialists, introduced special silencers for these public transport vehicles to reduce smoke and noise pollution, he said.

Mr Mahmood said the government had offered investors powerful incentives to operate buses run on compressed natural gas to replace the vans and thus cut pollution. The incentives included a 10 percent subsidy on loans to CNG bus companies and a rebate on customs duty on imported engines and parts for CNG buses.

The nazim said the Daewoo Bus Service planned to introduce 100 CNG buses in the city soon. He said the city government was encouraging new CNG stations and had already issued no objection certificates to more than 37 stations in the last two and a half years.

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