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NE witnessing rapid increase in air pollution
Sobhapati Samom
 GUWAHATI, May 10 – The national air quality review carried out by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment(CSE) shows that the States in the North- eastern region are witnessing rapid increase in air pollution and untamed motorisation.

“They need urgent action to leapfrog vehicle technology, scale up public transport, integrate multi-modal transport options, and encourage car restraint, walking and cycling”, says a statement of CSE.

Growing congestion is crippling in Northeastern cities, it added. The Northeastern States together have 2.7 million registered vehicles. Assam claims the largest vehicle share (59 pc), followed by Nagaland (10 pc), Manipur (7.7 pc), Tripura (7 pc). Meghalaya (6.4 pc), Arunachal Pradesh (5.4 pc), Mizoram (3.4 pc) and Sikkim with the lowest vehicle fleet (1.4 pc), says CSE quoting official records.

There are only three bus transport undertakings in this region with 0.1 per cent of the total fleet strength operated by State run transport services. But these are not performing well given the enormous burden of inefficiency and costs. Meghalaya State Transport Corporation has the lowest number of employees at 307; Mizoram State Transport has the highest number of staff per bus (13.83); Tripura Road Transport Corporation(RTC) has the largest decline in the proportion of fleet utilisation from 70.2 per cent during 2010-11 to 60.3 per cent during 2011-12.

This came to light during a one day workshop held under the aegis of New Delhi-based CSE and Journalists Union of Assam here on air quality and sustainable transportation challenge on Thursday.

The key cities in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura have begun to take steps to control air pollution. But limited information and awareness blocks effective solutions. Most cities while taking steps in meeting air quality and transportation challenges, are also making mistakes in promoting cars that negate their efforts, CSE said.

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