`Mahasuraksha Yojna' launched

Our Bureau

Mumbai, March 18

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Saturday promised the people of Mumbai that his Government is committed to seeing that the city got world-class public transport system.

Calling upon the Maharashtra Government to speed up work on the Mumbai Metro, Dr Singh said the city could not continue to depend on a public transport that it has inherited from the distant past.

Dr Singh was speaking after launching a group personal accident cover `Mahasuraksha Yojna' for over 2.25 lakh drivers of CNG-fuelled autorickshaws and taxicabs in Mumbai by Mahanagar Gas Ltd (MGL), a joint venture between GAIL, British Gas and the Maharashtra Government.

The social security net provided by the insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh for loss of life and a 70 per cent saving on fuel cost is expected to make more taxis and autorickshaws convert to CNG.

At present Mumbai conserves about 3 lakh litres of petrol and 65,000 litres of diesel each day on account of CNG use and reduction in vehicular emission of 600 tonnes a day. MGL is also planning to bring the city under piped gas cover by 2008.

In line with the effort to clean up Mumbai, an initiative to convert about 3,500 BEST buses to CNG was under way, with World Bank support, said Mr M.S. Srinivasan, Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Earlier, Mr Murli Deora, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, in a brief chat with the media, said he had called a meeting of the oil PSU heads on Sunday. "I want to address the issue of fuel adulteration with the oil company heads."

Mr K.V. Kamath, Managing Director of ICICI Bank, said the social insurance model was scalable across other sectors so that it covered farmers, textile workers and so on. ICICI Lombard is the lead insurer for Mahasuraksha Yojna.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 19, 2006)
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