Pune 25 Nov, 2017 Pune’s public transport authority, PMPML, has gone against the recommendations by an expert committee as well as the BEST and decided to purchase 400 diesel buses, according to an RTI filed by Parisar.
In July 2017, the expert committee, which was set up by the PMPML, suggested that CNG buses should be bought considering public health, environmental issues and the NGT norms.
PMPML also sought recommendations from BEST, which runs around 2,500 CNG buses in Mumbai, in June 2017. According to the BEST, in addition to being environmentally friendly, CNG buses are also cost effective mostly because of CNG’s reduced cost.
“The RTI clearly shows that the PMPML does not want to consider recommendations by experts. Even after clear and irrefutable evidence that our city needs sustainable modes of transportation, PMPML has gone ahead and decided to purchase 400 diesel buses. These diesel buses run for an average of 10 years, which means that for the next decade Punekars will be breathing in toxic pollutants from these vehicles. The transport authority has not kept public interest in mind before making this decision,” said Ranjit Gadgil, Program Director, Parisar.
Since July 2017, Punekars have been throwing their support behind this campaign by signing an online petition on Air A!ert, a digital campaigning platform for air pollution and climate change.
As of now, the campaign already has around 900 supporters, asking them to reconsider their decision of buying 400 diesel buses in Pune. The campaign is targeted at Tukaram Mundhe, Managing Director, PMPML; Mukta Tilak, Mayor, Pune; and Nitin Kalaje, Mayor, PCMC.
“Punekars understand the deadly impact of air pollution. Hundreds have signed the petition. We’ve also delivered letters to the PMPML, sent emails to Mundhe’s personal email id, sent Whatsapp messages on his personal number. The media also has been covering this issue. And now these RTI findings have exposed some glaring holes in the procurement process. We hope that at least now our voices will be heard,” said Noah D’Mello, Senior Campaigner, Jhatkaa.org.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2012 has classified diesel exhaust as Class I carcinogen for strong link with lung cancer. This puts diesel emissions in same bracket as tobacco smoking, asbestos etc in terms of strong carcinogen.
“At a time when North India is facing a massive public health crisis due to air pollution, Punekars now have a chance to avoid years and decades of poor air quality, simply by prioritizing cleaner public transport options,” D’Mello added.
In April, the PMPML said that they would purchase CNG buses for its new fleet. But in August, it backtracked on its promise to purchasing all CNG buses, which are less polluting for the environment.
Jhatkaa.org is a campaigning organisation committed to building grassroots citizen power across India in effective and innovative ways. Jhatkaa.org helps people take action collectively on issues that interest or affect them, and create change that would not be possible if they acted alone.
Jhatkaa.org also collaborates with civil society to engage citizens to hold corporate, cultural and government leaders accountable in real time at key decision moments through various digital communication platforms. Read more about Jhatkaa.org’s victories and press hits.
Parisar is a civil society organization working on lobbying and advocacy for sustainable development. Since its formation in the early 1980s, Parisar has worked in a diverse set of fields such as preservation of heritage, protection of urban biodiversity, and sustainable agriculture.
Since about the turn of the 21st century, its work focuses mainly on sustainable urban transport, since it recognizes that unsustainable transport policies and systems are the foremost threat to urban environment and quality of life.
It has been consistently promoting and pushing for sustainable public transportation, and has liaised and worked closely with the Pune Municipal Corporation by providing inputs on various aspects like BRT, non-motorised transport (NMT) which includes cycling and walking.
For more information, please contact:
Noah D’Mello Ranjit Gadgil