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Plan tabled at Parliament to ban fossil fuel-run vehicles

October 05, 2017

Experts have welcomed a stricture proposal recently tabled at Parliament that seeks a complete ban on selling and distribution of fossil fuel run vehicles in the next 10 years.

The proposal, put forward by ex-health minister Gagan Thapa, aims to prohibit sale of petroleum vehicles in Kathmandu Valley by 2027 and countrywide by 2031 and replace them by electric vehicles.  

Experts have hailed the proposal as a bold step towards improving the air quality of the country, especially the Capital city Kathmandu which is often dubbed as one of the most polluted cities in the world. 

Calling the move as the ‘game changer’ for the country’s transportation sector, environmentalist Bhushan Tuladhar said, “This is a welcome move which can have boosting effect to the country, both economically and environmentally.”

They say the move was timely and necessary stride towards future as the countries around the world are moving towards environment friendly electric vehicles. 

European countries like France and Britain have already announced to ban petroleum cars by 2040, whereas neighbouring India has decided to do away with combustion-powered vehicles by 2030.

Transport and traffic engineer Ashish Gajurel believe the commitment like this—restrictions on sales of petroleum vehicles to promote electric vehicles—was bound to happen everywhere, including Nepal. 

“Sooner or later every country will need to adopt such policies that phase out or convert the existing petroleum-powered vehicles into the ones that would operate from alternative energy source. This is a praiseworthy shift,” said Gajurel. 

The resolution proposal, which is not a legally binding document yet towards ending the sales of petroleum automobiles for curbing air pollution, suggests formulation of work plan, required policies, structures and financial provisions for timely implementation of Parliament’s declaration and commitment. 

According to Tuladhar, the commitment shown in the proposal is achievable within that timeframe. 

“People might doubt about its implementation, but it’s feasible and appropriate move for us as other countries have been going for similar policies,” said Tuladhar. “Besides, vehicle manufacturers have been shifting towards production of electric cars. In future, the whole vehicle industry will be changed with new technology and products, cutting down the prices. There will be revolutionary change in the vehicle market.” 

One of the world’s leading car manufacturer, Volvo has already declared that its cars will be fully or hybrid electric from 2019. 

Alarming level of air pollution in Kathmandu Valley makes the move a well-thought and required commitment, according to experts. The capitally city was ranked 5th in Pollution Index 2017 in the latest report by the Numbeo.com. “We don’t have petroleum products in our country. So if it is implemented then emission of greenhouse gases will be lower and ultimately reducing the pollution level,” added Gajurel. 

On the other hand, Tuladhar, who perceives the step as economy and environment friendly, also sees the move as preparation for future. 

“Besides controlling air pollution, it can save billions of rupees the country spends on importing petroleum products,” said Tuladhar, adding, “If we start now, then we can better prepare accordingly for promotion of electric vehicles and barring sales of vehicles with high emission. 

This will peddle for implementation other policies related to protection of environment.”

Nepal has already adopted the Environment-friendly Vehicle and Transport Policy (2014) with an aim to cut off emission from transport sector and increase the share of electric vehicle up to 20 percent by 2020 among other provisions towards overhauling transport sector and making it environment friendly. 

The proposal also envisages utilising the tax collected from petroleum products for environment protection purpose and providing subsidy to promote the use of electric vehicles.

Source: Kathmandu Post

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