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The Gujarat high court on Wednesday directed the state government to pass necessary laws to make it compulsory for all four-wheelers registered in Gujarat to convert to natural gas within one year which would affect lakhs of car owners.

The order, passed by Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala, came in response to directions sought by Dhrangadhra Prakruti Mandal, through its vice-president Devjibhai Dhamecha, to the state and Centre as well as all gas and petrol companies operating in Gujarat.

The Gujarat High court also gave two months to the state government to issue necessary orders to impose stringent restrictions to reduce pollution by fixing levels of emission to the minimum, at par with international norms. The order applies to both public and private vehicles running on petrol and diesel.

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

The judges suggested gas prices be cheaper for public vehicles and higher for privately owned vehicles. Also, fares of public transport should be fixed at reasonable rates so that the end benefit goes to the public.

The Gujarat high court also directed the Central government to allocate natural gas for domestic and vehicular use to the city of Ahmedabad usage at the same rate as it is supplied to Delhi and Mumbai. “This is to enforce the right of equality,” the judges said.

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