Arvind Kejriwal's AAP govt may go to court to effect CNG price hike rollback in Delhi

Written by Ruhi Bhasin | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 9 2014, 15:23pm hrs
Arvind KeijriwalDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Law Minister Somnath Bharti during a press conference in New Delhi. (PTI)
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government is looking at legal options to effect a rollback in CNG prices, one of the first promises made by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The move is seen as an attempt to appease auto unions, which had lobbied for the party in the Delhi elections.

On the issue of rollback of CNG prices, we are looking at legal options to see how it can be done, Transport Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj on Wednesday said.

This year, the price of CNG has increased in the city by 30.6 per cent from Rs 38.35/kg at the start of the year to Rs 50.1/kg as of Wednesday.

Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), the distributor of CNG in Delhi, had said strengthening of the dollar and increasing dependence on imported regasified-liquid natural gas (RLNG) that costs four times as much as domestic gas necessitated the price hikes.

But the latest hike, it says, was also made necessary by a 5 per cent reduction in the allocation of cheaper domestic gas to Delhi and the NCR following a Gujarat High Court order.

On the matter of impounding auto-rickshaws for permit violations, Bhardwaj said it was being examined in detail. This issue needs to be looked into. There is some harassment of auto drivers by traffic police which also needs to be looked into. All aspects of the matter are being examined right now, he said.

On Monday, transport commissioner Arvind Ray was replaced by Gyanesh Bharti. Asked if this transfer was necessitated due to Rays objections to easing enforcement of auto drivers, Saurabh replied in the negative.

According to Delhi government, there are two enforcement agencies in Delhi for regulating, monitoring and enforcing provisions of Motor Vehicles Act and Rules the enforcement wing of Transport department and the traffic police. But the enforcement wing functions with a skeletal staff of 120 personnel, making it difficult for it to clamp down on violations.

The auto unions have been alleging harassment by traffic police, which often impounds auto-rickshaws for permit violations such as driver not wearing uniform, overcharging and refusing a passenger. A meeting was held between traffic police and transport officials to discuss this. According to traffic police, it takes action under the Motor Vehicles Act.