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Central Ministries and departments would soon be buying electric vehicles for official use, a move aimed at reducing vehicular emissions and pollution. The Department of Heavy Industry is in talks with the finance ministry to launch the initiative on a pilot basis for all the Central government ministries and departments along with Central public sector units to procure new electric vehicles for official purposes.
A senior official told The Indian Express that the Department of Heavy Industry will “bear the entire cost over and above the price of petrol or diesel vehicles under the FAME scheme”.
“We have written letter to the finance ministry and states requesting them to purchase only electric vehicles and hire such vehicles for their officials. This will not only help in reducing pollution but will also bring down the cost of fuel for the exchequer. The vehicles with range of 80-120 km per charge would be suitable for the pilot,” the official added. In fact, states including Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Arunachal Pradesh, among others, have already expressed their interest in the scheme in a meeting that was held by Minister of Heavy Industry Anant Geete with transport ministers of states last month.
The official added that once the scheme is successful in Delhi, it will be implemented in other metropolitan cities and the smart cities, which have been short-listed. “Going by the demand, we will start setting up charging infrastructure soon,” the official said.
The department will be providing support to electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers under a scheme called FAME India — Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India —, offering incentives of up to Rs 29,000 for bikes and Rs 1.38 lakh for cars.
The scheme is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan and plans to provide Rs 795 crore in the first two fiscal years beginning 2015-16. While Rs 500 crore will be spent on demand incentives, the government will also provide incentives ranging between Rs 1,800-Rs 29,000 for battery-operated scooters and motorcycles. Three-wheelers can avail of the funds in the range of Rs 3,300-Rs 61,000.
Four-wheelers, however, will get incentives in range of Rs 13,000-Rs 1.38 lakh, while in light commercial vehicles it is from Rs 17,000 to Rs 1.87 lakh, and for buses it is from Rs 34 lakh to Rs 66 lakh.
Last month, transport minister Nitin Gadkari had gifted an electric bus to the Lok Sabha for commuting MPs.
In fact, the road transport and highways ministry is in touch with state transport corporations from Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka for converting a few diesel buses into electric ones. An imported electric bus costs about Rs 1.75 crore while the one converted indigenously will cost about Rs 60 lakh, Gadkari had said.