To save environment Himachal to buy 25 electric buses

To ensure the plying of echo-friendly electric buses, especially between Manali and Rohtang pass, state government has floated the tenders to buy 25 electric buses. Once these buses are added in the fleet, 50 more electric buses would be purchased by the state transport department. On the issue of plying electric buses, National Green Tribunal (NGT) is showing its keenness and on May 9, Tribunal had directed the Union Ministry of Heavy Industries to finalise the design and specifications of the tender in consultation with the Himachal Pradesh government.

In the status report filed before NGT, state government had submitted that Union Ministry of Heavy Industries has approved Rs 1.50 crore each for the purchase of 25 electric buses subject to the finalization of specifications by Government of India.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had announced exemption for Token Tax, Registration Charges and VAT on all electrical vehicles in order to promote eco-friendly transport services in the state in his budget speech.

In a meeting held on May 11, state cabinet had exempted electric vehicles from the payment of token tax and registration fee in compliance to orders of NGT to provide sustainable, environment friendly, public transit system and encourage the use of Electric Vehicles.

 In its recent order, NGT said that Himachal Pradesh is ready with 25 % of the expenses to be incurred for purchasing the 25 electric buses which would be started primarily in the area in question (Rohtang pass area) and could be used even for other places after the season.
NGT had directed the Ministry of Heavy Industries to finalise the design and specifications of the tender in consultation with the state of Himachal Pradesh in the May 12 meeting. The expenditure of the buses shall be borne in the ratio of 25% and 75% by the State and Central Government, it added.

While stating that state government should also consider purchase of hybrid buses, Tribunal said that steps would be taken by the State of Himachal Pradesh to finalise the purchase of these vehicles expeditiously and the Ministry of Heavy Industry would provide help in that regard.

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