KARACHI - The Sindh government has decided to subsidise the conversion of only 500 two-stroke rickshaws into environment-friendly four-stroke CNG rickshaws by June 2010 in the City, TheNation learnt here on Wednesday. A huge number of about 50,000 two-stroke rickshaws are plying on the City roads out of which only a meagre number i.e 500 rickshaws to be converted to four-stroke rickshaws during this year. The official concerned told TheNation that at least Rs1.5 billion were needed to convert all the 50,000 two-rickshaws to environment-friendly CNG four-strokes, while the provincial government was not in a position to bear the amount at once due to its limited resources. A senior official revealed that the Sindh Transport Department (STD) has already sent a summary to the Finance Department seeking the approval of Rs150 million for the project. According to the officials concerned, at least Rs 50,000 to Rs60,000 will be incurred on each rickshaw to convert it to the environment-friendly one. The expenditure will be shared both by the rickshaw owners and the STD equally. However, the four local companies have showed interest to convert rickshaws to environment-friendly engines, the official said, adding that the STD would invite more companies in this regard. Senior Official of the STD said that the government has already imposed a ban on new two-stroke rickshaws in City, while the existing rickshaws will be converted to four-stroke under public-private partnership. It is to be noted that the Supreme Court, while pronouncing a verdict, had instructed the Sindh government, to ban the two-stroke rickshaws creating pollution. The then Sindh government had fixed June 30, 2007 the deadline for the conversion of two-stroke rickshaws into four-stroke. While, on the other hand, the rickshaw owners/drivers had staged a protest against then governments deadline near Sindh Governor House and created traffic jam in the City. Consequently, the provincial government extending the deadline, had granted permission to rickshaw owners to replace their two-stroke vehicles with four-stroke CNG ones by June 30, 2010, official said, adding that the ban had been extended in the larger public interest keeping in view the financial condition of the rickshaw owners who belonged to poor segments of society and could not meet the deadline of June 30, 2007. According to the STD, the total number of vehicles holding route permits, plying on urban routes in Karachi as public transport vehicles, is 1,07,762. However, the data showed that there are 2,598 buses, 5,935 minibuses, 3,372 coaches, 230 buses (KPTS), 42 buses (UTS-AC), 220 buses (UTS), 24,209 taxis (black and white), 23,095 taxis yellow cabs, 43,325 two-stroke auto rickshaws and 4,736 four-stroke CNG rickshaws.