Dharamshala: To reduce the impact of diesel public transport services on fragile mountain environment, Himachal Pradesh public service state provider HRTC is all set to introduce electric buses for the center has sanctioned Rs 35 crores.
Speaking to reporters here, transport minister GS Bali claimed that Himachal Pradesh is the first state in the country for which the central government has sanctioned Rs 35 crore to purchased 25 environment friendly electric buses.
‘After completion of the tendering process, order for purchase of these electric buses has been placed,” said the minister.
Centre has sanctioned the funds on a 75:25 funding ration with the state having to meet 25% of the costs towards the purchase but the minister said that he would take up the matter with the central authorities to convert the funding pattern to a 90:10 ratio, with the center bearing 90% of the costs as Himachal has been accorded a special category status.
He said: Imported but assembled in India, these electric buses cost at about Rs 1.75 crore a piece. The need charging stations every 75 Kms and all district bus stands in the state would soon have electric charging facilities installed for these buses.
Trial runs of these electric buses has already been conducted at Shimla, Nalagarh and Solan, informed Bali.
To revamp it old fleet, the minister added, 947 buses that had run for over 10 years would be shelved and 300 new buses which would include 150 small buses catering to difficult areas would be purchased to replace the aging vehicles.
For higher end travel HRTC would be increaing its Volvo bus service by adding 15 more buses.
To ensure passenger safety, all bus stands are being brought under closed circuit TV surveillance and a 24/7 passenger complaint system from nest month be extended from present HRTC services to all private bus operators also.
Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI.
In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.