The Madras High Court on Thursday gave four weeks time to the state government to take a decision on the issue of grant of permits only to LPG-run 'autorickshaws 3+1 seaters' on the basis of a study of air pollution as per National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, was hearing a PIL filed by one P Boobalan, who alleged that without examining air pollution in Namakkal and Thiruchengode towns and contrary to a government order, authorities were issuing permits to 3+1 seater passenger autos run by diesel and petrol.
The counsel for Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board submitted that a study would be carried out in all the major towns, instead of restricting it to Namakkal district.
Following this, the court granted four weeks time to the state government in this regard.
The petitioner submitted that there were several vehicles in Namakkal and Thiruchengode running diesel and petrol and "there exists alarming air pollution caused by emission of carbon dioxide".
Citing a government order which has restricted grant of permits only to autos running on LPG in Chennai, he alleged there was no such restriction while granting permits in Namakkal and Thiruchengode.
The petition alleged that the authorities without examining the existing air pollution in the towns and contrary to the government order, were issuing permits to 3+1 seater passenger autos run on diesel and petrol.
Though almost in all big towns in the state, the air pollution caused by plying vehicles fitted with diesel/petrol engines is higher than the prescribed benchmark, the Home (Transport) Department has imposed the restriction only in the city of Chennai and not been concerned about the health of the people living in other towns and areas in the state, it said.
The plea said he made a representation in this regard on November 3, last year to the RTA of Namakkal to find out the level of air pollution as per National Ambient Air Quality Standards. As no effective step was taken he filed the present petition, the petitioner said.
The petition prayed for a direction to the authorities to extend the restriction to Namakkal and Thiruchengode. It also sought an interim injunction on issuing of permits to 3+1 seater autorickshaws run on diesel and petrol in these areas.