LAHORE The Punjab government is all-set to make the province smoke-free by launching two projects - setting up modern vehicle-testing fitness stations, and another one to convert thousands of two-stroke auto-rickshaws into four-stroke (CNG) rickshaws, TheNation has learnt. The projects of worth rupees two billions (Rs one billion each), introduced by Punjab Transport Department, were prepared keeping in mind the induction of modern technology and environment friendly mechanism in transport business. In addition to this, the projects would help in earning livelihood to thousands of rickshaw owners. According to details, initially, at least two foreign companies through public-private partnership would be allowed to establish modern vehicle inspection stations in north and south zones. The companies, then, by establishing 20-25 sub-inspection stations (workshops) in various cities would issue fitness certificates after examining breaks, tyres, engine, smoke emission etc of the vehicles. A transport vehicle would not be deemed to be validly registered unless it carries the certificate of fitness. This certificate will be issued for one year in case of heavy transport vehicles and for six months for light transport vehicles. The transport authorities will monitor the procedure and will be able to test vehicles condition whenever required. It is worth mentioning here that not a single modern examining system is available with the government all over the country and even Motorway Police is dependent on traditional system of vehicle fitness testing. The proposed projects are continuing in developed countries while the Punjab Transport Department has picked the idea to facilitate the people and avoiding high ratio of road accidents, an inside source said. It was told that whole the procedure for issuance of certificates would be computerised. In another move, the transport authorities have decided to convert 20,000 two-strike auto-rickshaws into four-stroke rickshaws in five mega cities. It will cost about rupees 50,000 for each rickshaw while the government would provide 50 per cent subsidy to each rickshaw owner. The source said that PC-I of the project was ready. The Supreme Court in 2005 and Lahore High Court in 2007 had put ban on two-stroke rickshaws but even today some old rickshaws were running illegally while some were stopped as well, the source told. Secretary Transport Muhammad Yousaf confirmed the projects saying that the CNG auto-rickshaws project would be started from next month while the other one was a long term project and the government would soon publish proposal in this regard. He urged the need of revival of transport business through public-private partnership. He said that the Punjab government was making all efforts to provide better transport facilities to the people.