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Transport Ministry to seek Rs 5,000 crore for electric bus fleets, bus ports

 The road transport and highways ministry will seek separate budgetary allocation of Rs 5,000 crore for introducing government-owned electric bus fleets and building world-class bus ports across the country, Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said.

The ministry plans to set up special purpose vehicles with state governments and road transport corporations, under which it will provide funds to procure electric buses and modernise public transport system, Gadkari told ET.

State transport corporations must phase out the cost intensive diesel buses and induct e-buses; this will bring down their losses, according to Gadkari, thereby making profit. “We can also have private sector-run e-buses by providing them subsidy and incentives,” the minister said.

 “I will soon write to finance minister Arun Jaitley regarding the same along with pushing the proposal with state transport ministers,” Gadkari said.

His ministry plans to procure more than 5,000 e-buses for inter-city travel next fiscal. “I am even looking at introducing double-decker buses,” he said. “We have already signed an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Transport London to bring in modern technologies in public transportation.”

The government has already come out with tenders to procure electric cars for its departments. “This is the only way we can get people to use e-vehicles and at the same time strengthening our public transport system,” Gadkari said.

The government is already working on an e-vehicle policy as it has set the target to have an all-electric vehicle fleet in the country by 2030.

Under the policy, the government will provide for mandatory charging infrastructure along with offering incentives to people buying electric vehicles.

The transport ministry has proposed that electric vehicles that are used as taxis or even mini trucks should be exempted from all commercial taxes.

“We are working on having a charging infrastructure through which people will be able to charge their batteries within half an hour,” Gadkari said. “Only then electric mobility can be successful in India,” he said. “At the speed private cars are increasing on roads, I will require over Rs 1 lakh crore in next five-six years to add extra lanes to national highways,” the minister said.

According to Niti Aayog, India’s vision of mass conversion to electric vehicles (EVs) can create a $300-billion, or about Rs 19.27 lakh crore domestic market for EV batteries by 2030. Accelerated adoption of electric and shared vehicles could save $60 billion, or about Rs 3.85 lakh crore, in diesel and petrol costs and cut down as much as 1 gigatonne of carbon emissions for India by 2030, Aayog has said in a report.

Introducing electric buses has become a major global concern since it reduces carbon footprint, a critical necessity for the environmental protection. India also is moving towards this initiative so that ‘Go Green’ will be effectively achieved. In fact, similar to India’s vision of conversion to electric vehicles by 2030, 12 major cities in the world have taken the very significant landmark decision of increasing the use of zero-emission public transportation. Recently, Mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland, and Cape Town all signed the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration, which pledges that they will add only fully electric buses to their cities' public transportation from 2025.

It does not matter whether Trump supports or not the climate change programme.

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