Himachal Pradesh may not have gone all-out to implement National Green Tribunal (NGT) order to introduce Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses at Rohtang, but state may have environment-friendly electric buses running on its roads as public transport facility.
Under National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), launched by the Narendra Modi government, state’s transport department has offered to be a partner in introducing at least 100 electric buses in the HRTC fleet within this year on pilot basis. Later strength will be raised to 500 once funding under NEMMP is made available.
The transport department officials say “Whole objective of the plan is to introduce appropriately designed electric buses for the hilly terrain and meeting a target to reduce vehicular pollution, traffic congestion of the urban and rural roads and provide clean and affordable transport services”.
State’s transport minister G S Bali confirmed to the Indian Express that state government, after his meeting with Union minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, HRTC has submitted a proposal to the centre showing its readiness to ply ‘mild hybrid to pure electric vehicles’. These include Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) once the centre clears the project.
Says Bali “under new transport policy, the state government has proposed a major focus on safe ,affordable and reliable public transportation. We have already introduced 317 new buses under JNNURM. Atleast 500 more buses will soon be introduced in the fleet. The buses were fitted with proper GPRS facility. This will make the entire HRTC fleet young. There will be no buses of ‘zero-book’ value in the existing fleet during this year.
The electric buses offer multiple advantages over conventional internal combustion engine buses in terms of higher torque to power ratio, regenerative breaking, zero emissions, low noise levels. All these benefits are relevant in hilly terrain like that of Himachal Pradesh, he says.
The HRTC has also joined hands with Delhi based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to work-out modalities for developing green growth strategies in the public transport sector. Such buses are considered useful also as charter services for ferrying clusters of people working in same organizations,institutions like hospitals and colleges.
“The GGGI will assist HRTC to launch a pilot of the program in 2015 to roll out of electric buses. Additionally, the GGGI will assist Corporation in putting together a proposal and in identifying relevant funds for the pilot project. A details proposal will will be submitted soon for funding under NEMMP -2020 ”, informed R N Batta, MD HRTC.
This will bridge the gap and provide newer form of transport to the people of the state. The electric buses conceptually offer superior performance to diesel engine powered buses on multiple aspects. These can be customized for the hilly terrain giving technical advantage over regular buses with a reduced wear and tear on account of fewer mechanical drives, Bali explained.
He says the project implementation would bolster HP’s vision to provide an enabling environment for providing quality service to its users, preserving the environment and leveraging other opportunities to promote efficient mobility solutions in the state.