Bengaluru: A week after it floated a tender for 150 electric buses, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is in a fix as the Central has reportedly approved subsidy for merely 40 buses. The corporation was hoping to acquire all the buses with financial aid from the Union government under the Faster Adoption Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme of the National Mobility Mission Plan (NEMP), 2020.
BMTC chairman, Nagaraj Yadav believes politics may have played a role in the Centre's decision. "I don't believe in buying several buses at once. There is no point in blaming the Government of India(GOI), but we would have liked it better if it had approved the subsidy for 150 buses. One could say that since we have a Congress government in the state, approval was denied," he said.
Following this shocker, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) , which is also planning to buy electric buses with Central subsidy, is now afraid that its proposal too may be rejected.
KSRTC Managing Director, S R Umashankar, was in Delhi last week to present the demand for subsidy for purchase of over 50 e-buses to the GOI. Its chief mechanical engineer, production, Srinivas, says it will float tenders for the buses on January 24 depending on the status of the proposal." Only if the government approves our proposal for 50 e-buses which we want to run for inter-city transportation, will we go ahead with the plan," he added.
The Centre's reluctance to help the city's transport turn eco-friendly has not gone down well with environmentalists either as they believe even 150 e-buses will not help alleviate pollution levels in a city like Bengaluru. A consultant with the Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD), Mahesh Kashyap says 40 such buses will meet just one per cent of the city's requirements, but they can be deployed on BSII routes to partially lower its pollution.
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