A $140 million interest-free loan is being sought by minibus operators to clear their dirty vehicles off the road. The proposal yesterday won support from a legislator who believes the Government should take financial responsibility in its effort to convert minibuses from diesel to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Representatives of the 4,350-strong fleet of minibuses will ask for the loan directly from Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands Gordon Siu Kwing-chue on Friday, to buy newer diesel-run minibuses. Leung Hung, spokesman for the newly formed Minibus Environmental Concern Group, estimated that about 400 old minibuses should be removed from the street immediately as they produced black smoke from worn-out engines. Mr Leung said owners could not afford to replace bad engines because they were in debt. 'A lot of us carry negative assets. Our minibus licences used to be worth up to $4.2 million each before the economic turmoil. 'Now, it has dropped to $3 million. Many of us who bought the licences at the market peak suffered a loss of $1 million. 'Just last month, the banks repossessed 100 minibuses because we failed to pay interest,' he said. 'How can we afford to buy new minibuses?' Mr Leung asked. Legislator Ambrose Cheung Wing-sum said: 'It is not possible for the operators to bear all the cost for the change. 'The Government needs to make necessary arrangement to support the LPG plan.'