Gujarat govt to challenge HC order on CNG-run vehicles

The Gujarat government has decided to move the Supreme Court against the Gujarat High Court's order directing the state administration to ensure that all new vehicles getting registered in the state are running on compressed natural gas (CNG).

The court also directed the government to make sure that all four-wheelers in the state – both private and state-owned – switch over to CNG within a year.

''The high court order is not practically possible to implement as it has wider implications. We will challenge it in the Supreme Court,'' a senior state government official said.

The switchover to CNG would cost the state government an additional Rs7,000 crore a year, which is equivalent to the annual VAT collection on petrol and diesel sales in the state. This would be double loss to the state government, an official of the state government pointed out.

Gujarat accounts for about 11 per cent of the total sales of petrol and diesel in the country.

A division bench of the Ahmedabad High Court headed by chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya on Wednesday ordered the state government to register only vehicles using natural gas as fuel and to ensure that all vehicles in the state are run on gas from next year. The court also directed the central government to provide CNG to Gujarat under the administrated price mechanism (APM).

''The state is directed to pass necessary orders within the shortest possible period, at any rate not exceeding one year from today, compelling the owners of all vehicles having registration in Gujarat to use natural gas, and if necessary, even at higher prices, for the protection of the lives of the citizens living in the state,'' the court said in its order.

Meanwhile, car dealers, concerned over the blanket ban on petrol and diesel vehicles drying up bookings, are planning to challenge the order.