After banning the use of all commercial vehicles older than 15 years in Patna in a bid to control pollution, the Bihar government on Wednesday decided to phase out diesel auto-rickshaws from the state capital and urban areas surrounding from March 2021.
Diesel cars in municipal areas of Patna will be completely banned from January 31, 2021 and in other urban pockets like Danapur, Khagaul and Phulwari Sharif from March 31 of the same year.
The decision was taken in the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday.
The decision to phase out the most polluting vehicles was taken in view of the rising ambient air pollution, which has deteriorated to the worst level in Patna and a few other cities this season.
Transport Secretary Sanjay Kumar Agrawal said the government had, however, come out with a policy to provide financial incentives of up to Rs 40,000 for those auto and taxi owners who were willing to switch to green energy as Compressed natural gas (CNG) or battery.
The policy envisages that a one-time grant of Rs 40,000 would be offered to each owner to replace their diesel/petrol cars with CNG kits. Those opting for retrofitting their existing petrol auto with CNG kit will get a grant of Rs 20,000 for each unit. However, all car owners, who wish to switch to electric vehicles, will be given Rs 25,000 as a grant. The incentive is only for seven-seater cars.
The government has also proposed to offer Rs 20,000 as grant to every commercial motor taxi that opts for CNG retrofitting.
Agrawal said the ban on old commercial vehicles and the decision to phase out diesel autos were enforced only in Patna and its adjoining urban areas. “They can run in other areas of the state without problems,” he clarified.
In another decision, the state government has decided to offer financial assistance of Rs 65 crore to the Advance Computing Development Center to set up its research and development center in Patna to help the digital transformation of the state.
The cabinet also gave its nod for the increase in dearness allowance (DA) to pensioners and state government employees, who are still drawing their salaries as per the recommendations of the fifth and sixth commissions of payment. Now, those who receive their salaries in terms of the fifth pay commission will receive 312% DA instead of the existing 295% of the basic pay. Similarly, DA of those receiving salary as per sixth pay commission would be raised to 164% from the existing level of 154%.
The cabinet also approved the amendment in the procedure of granting the old age pension scheme of the CM. Principal secretary, cabinet secretariat department, Dipak Prasad said that now age and address of beneficiaries can be verified with the help of Aadhaar and election photo ID cards.