‘Distance covered by the vehicle rather than age will be a better yardstick’
Kerala has decided to register its protest against the National Automobile Scrappage Policy unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Terming the policy as unscientific and impractical, Transport Minister Antony Raju said the State government would formally convey its reservations about the policy to the Centre. “It is thoroughly unscientific and designed to benefit only the private automobile companies,” he said.
The Prime Minister had called it an important link in the circular economy and the waste-to-wealth campaign. The policy would play a vital role in the modernisation of the vehicle population by removing unfit vehicles from roads, besides creating thousands of jobs, according to him.
Among other things, the policy advocates phasing out 15-year-old commercial vehicles and 20-year-old passenger vehicles.
Noting that the new policy would dash the hopes of the common man to own a vehicle, Mr. Raju said a more scientific approach would have been to fix the kilometres run by a vehicle as the yardstick rather than the age of the vehicle.
“There are any number of vehicles which may be over 15 years old, but have not covered that many kilometres. For example, school and college buses that run only in the mornings and evenings and do not ply on weekends and vacations,” he said.
The Centre’s justification that the policy would help reduce pollution also is fraught with problems, according to the Transport Minister. “If that were so, promoting the conversion of vehicles into LNG and CNG-fuelled ones would be more advisable,” he said.
According to him, the previous LDF government had conveyed its opinion on the policy to the Centre. “I understand that the State suggested that the distance run by a vehicle rather than its age should be the criterion. We will reiterate our stand on this point,” he said.
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