India orders rickshaws around Delhi to run on cleaner fuel

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FILE PHOTO: A woman sits in a rickshaw in front of Jama Masjid or Grand Mosque on Jumat-ul-Vida or the last Friday of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, during a lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the old quarters of Delhi, India, May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI -India is to ban the use of diesel autorickshaws in areas around the capital Delhi, expanding restrictions introduced in the city itself to tackle some of the worst city air quality in the world.

No new diesel-powered rickshaws will be registered in the areas surrounding the capital in the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan from Jan. 1, a government body said in a statement published on Thursday.

From 2027, only autorickshaws with compressed natural gas or electricity will be allowed to operate in the region, the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas said.

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Delhi is the world’s most polluted capital city and its 20 million people essentially breathe smoke on most winter days due to vehicular pollution, construction dust and the burning of crop stubble in neighbouring states.

Autorickshaws, also known as tuk tuks in some countries, are a common and affordable means of travel around India.

But they have contributed to air quality in cities across India that can lead to respiratory illness and seriously impact those with existing diseases, according to the government.

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