Three-wheeler report

By Pedro Lawson,2014-05-05 21:55
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Three-wheeler report

    EPCA report number 9 (November 2004)

     Report on the increase in the number of three-wheelers in Delhi

     In response to the Hon’ble Supreme Court Order Dated October 8, 2004

    In response to the I.A. 217 of 2003

    (In the matter of W.P.(C) No.13029 of 1985; M.C. Mehta v/s UOI & others)

    Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority

    for the National Capital Region


1. Report on the increase in the number of three-wheelers in Delhi

    The three-wheeled scooter rickshaw (TSR) plays a very important role as intermediate public transport in the country. Delhi has around 53,262 registered three-wheelers as of August 31, 2004 running on compressed natural gas (CNG). The Hon’ble court has time and again discussed issues pertaining to three-wheelers in Delhi, from the point of congestion and also of pollution. The order of December 1997 imposed a cap on issuing fresh permits to the three-wheelers in Delhi. Registration was allowed only on replacement basis. In December 2002 however the Hon’ble court allowed a further

    increase (5,000) in the number of three wheelers.

2. EPCA’s mandate

    The Malawa Ram Market Association in an application filed in the Hon’ble court has sought further increase in the number of three-wheelers. Based on their plea the Hon’ble

    court on October 8, 2004 ordered,

    “Meanwhile, the Delhi government may move EPCA for additional demand of

    TSR as interim measure.”

    EPCA reviewed the current status of three-wheelers in Delhi and has discussed the matter with representatives of the Delhi government. Its recommendations in this report are broadly in consonance with the Delhi government’s policy in this regard.

    EPCA realised it was necessary to undertake a technical assessment of the existing three-wheelers on the road, in order to consider any increase in the numbers in the city. This is because it has been noted that the current fleet of three-wheelers on road emit visible smoke. This when this fleet is relatively new and runs on clean fuel. This report to the Hon’ble Supreme Court considers all these matters.

3. Background to the three-wheeler issues

    Over the years a series of orders have been issued by the Hon’ble court on the issue of three-wheelers and the problem caused due to the emission and congestion.

Order dated 16.12.1997:

    “One of the major pollutants identified in the various affidavits as well as in the

    latest status report filed by the government the TSR using a two-stroke engine…

    It would be in the interest of the environment to freeze the number of TSRs at the

    level at which they are actually in use in Delhi. We therefore direct there would

    be no grant of fresh permits in case of TSR, save and except by way of

    replacement of an existing working TSR with a new one.”

    Following this vide notification dated 23rd April 1997 the department froze the number of autorickshaws at the existing number at that time i.e. 82,138. The department started registering three-wheelers only as replacement of existing three-wheelers.


Order of July 28, 1998:

    Replacement of all pre 1990 autos and taxis with new vehicles on clean fuels by


    Financial incentives for replacement of all post 1990 autos and taxis with new

    vehicles on clean fuels by 31.3.2001”

    As per the court order the government has also implemented the provision for financial incentives for replacement of old three wheelers with CNG three-wheeler. So far, the Auto-Rickshaw Branch of the Transport department, has allowed the following incentives:

    1. Sales tax exemption being given in 4002 cases

    2. Interest subsidy amounting to Rs 1,34,15,770/- have already been provided in

    4062 cases

Order dated 17.9.2001:

    “We however wish to clarify that there is no order of the court which either

    compels conversion of autos or taxis to CNG single fuel mode or prohibits the

    use of Euro II new taxis or four stroke autos on clean fuel.”

    In the light of this the government of Delhi, took the decision to ban registration of two-stroke auto rickshaws running on petrol or CNG in the national capital territory of Delhi with effect from May 1, 2002. But four-stroke three-wheelers running on low benzene petrol are allowed.

Order dated 20.12.2002:

    “Meanwhile, we modify the order dated 16th December 1997 and permit fresh

    registration of 5,000 (five thousand) new Auto Rickshaws on CNG/LPG mode.”

Order dated 8.10.2004:

    “Meanwhile, the Delhi government may move EPCA for additional demand of

    TSR as interim measure.”

    The court order came in the light of the Interim Application (I.A.) filed by the Malawa Ram Market Association that prayed:

    ; To modify the order dated 16.12.97 of this Hon’ble Court and direct the State

    Transport Authority to allow the registration of new TSR and grant fresh permit to

    new TSR to be on CNG and not by way of replacement only;

    ; To direct the state transport authority to grant permits according to the motor

    vehicles act.


4. Background of EPCA’s deliberations on 3-wheelers

    EPCA would like to point out that the issue of the increase in the numbers of three-wheeler has been dealt in the report, Second generation reforms for air pollution control in Delhi: Examination of the issues raised in the IA 179 submitted by the Amicus curiae

    submitted to the Hon’ble court in April 2003. The key recommendations of the EPCA April 2003 report were:

    ; Potential demand for the services of three-wheelers in Delhi and the extent of the

    increase in their numbers to be allowed

    ; A composite plan on how would these be deployed in case of further expansion

    in their numbers.

    ; Innovative models possible for short-haul/feeder services of these vehicles

    especially in the context of Metro Rail’s expansion plans and decongesting the

    main arterial roads

    ; Incentive schemes for encouraging phasing in of battery operated three-wheelers

    EPCA had also recommended it would be prudent enough to ensure that any further increase in the number of registration beyond what has already been permitted should be in the zero emission categories namely the battery-operated electric three-wheelers,

    in addition to CNG and LPG.

    EPCA thus is looking at the three-wheeler issue again in the light of the Hon’ble court’s order dated October 8, 2004. The problem of visible smoke from three-wheelers is well known. EPCA would like to point out that the technical issues pertaining to the three-wheelers were discussed with Bajaj Auto at earlier occasions before. In their earlier deliberations with the EPCA, Bajaj had always maintained that the problem of white smoke emissions is an inspection and maintenance issue.

    In its submission to EPCA on March 2003, Bajaj had pointed out that their analysis clearly shows that the primary cause of smoke emission is lack of proper maintenance of the vehicle as per recommended schedules and use of sub standard change parts. The main elements of the analysis were:

    1. The relative percentage of smoking vehicles is higher among the vehicles of

    older vintages (registered 2 to 2 ? years ago) than among the newer ones

    2. There are no smoking vehicles among those registered in the last one year

    3. There are significant proportions of non-smoking vehicles in all the age groups

    4. The main reason for visible smoke emissions is abnormally high lubricating oil


    5. High lubricating oil consumption is primarily caused by accelerated abrasive wear

    of the piston/piston ring assembly due to ingestion of airborne dust from the

    ambient air

    6. Ingestion of airborne dust is caused by improper fitment of air filter element in its

    housing during fitment after periodic cleaning and/or use of sub standard filter

    element at the time of replacement

    7. Owners of a large number of vehicles who followed the recommended

    maintenance schedule did not report the problem of smoke or high oil

    consumption. On the other hand all vehicles that showed visible smoke emission


    and high oil consumption were invariably with owners/drivers who did not follow

    the recommended maintenance practices

    Given the problem from the existing three-wheelers, EPCA felt it necessary to review the technical aspects of the three-wheelers. EPCA was surprised to know that the problem of polluting 3-wheelers still persists and it has actually grown much worse. Initially though the white smoke problem was confined to the retrofitted two-stroke three-wheelers, it has now came to light that four-stroke are also equally emitting white smoke. This finding of EPCA was corroborated by the recent pollution drive against transport vehicles by the Delhi transport department.

5. Problem of visible pollution from three-wheelers

    EPCA was obviously concerned about the polluting three-wheelers in Delhi, which were negating the impact of the CNG programme in the city. The Transport Department of Delhi conducted a special drive against three-wheelers and other vehicles, which emit visible smoke. The drive was undertaken from October 4 to October 14, 2004. During the drive around 168 three-wheelers were caught for emitting visible smoke. Out of the 168 three-wheelers except three, which belonged to the Scooters India, the rest numbering 165 three-wheelers belonged to Bajaj.

Pollution drive of Transport department, Delhi from October 4 to October 14, 2004

    Year Series