BHUBANESWAR: The State government’s ambitious e-mobility plan to promote electric vehicles as public transport alternatives to ensure cleaner and greener environment in the city continues to be a non-starter even after three years.
As per the plan prepared in 2017, around 500 e-rickshaws were supposed to be deployed in the city in a phased manner under Smart City Mission. The Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) had set July 2021 deadline for the project.
Though less than seven months are left, there has been no progress in execution of the plan. Sources said tender for the project has not been finalised yet and the Covid-19 pandemic could delay it further.
Similarly, the launching of electric buses for which the Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) had completed its trial run last year has been affected after outbreak of the pandemic.
The CRUT had identified 38.7 km priority transit corridors in the Capital which will require 148 electric buses to provide transport facilities to around 1.92 lakh passengers on a daily basis.
Initially, the city was supposed to get 50 electric buses under the second phase of Centre’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric (and hybrid) Vehicles scheme or Fame-II.
Though the buses were supposed to be purchased by July, it couldn’t be done due to the pandemic and the CRUT authorities are now planning to operate the buses in the city from next year.
Delay in implementation of these projects have affected the government’s e-mobility plan that aims at encouraging electric vehicles to reduce carbon emission and check noise pollution in the city.
BSCL CEO Prem Chandra Chaudhary said the e-rickshaw project will be launched with the help of a private vendor.
The process, however, has got delayed due to the pandemic. “Once the approval is received from the government for tendering and request for proposal (RFP), we will go ahead with the project,” he said.
CRUT general manager Dipti Mahapatra said the electric buses are likely to be introduced by February 2021. “The buses couldn’t be brought as public transport came to a grinding halt during the Covid lockdown. We expect to ply at least 25 electric buses on the city roads in the first phase from February,” Mohapatra said.