Tourists suffer, HP govt yet to introduce electric buses

Shimla, June 15: The summer tourist season in Himachal Pradesh is nearing its end, but the government has still not introduced electric buses especially on the Manali-Rohtang road. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered the state government to ban both petrol and diesel vehicles and run CNG or electric vehicles on Manali-Rohtang road. The government argued that supplying CNG buses to Manali is a very costly affair and the project will need time to be implemented. NGT gave the government some respite by limiting the number of petrol and diesel vehicles going to Rohtang for tourism. The government then assured NGT that it is conducting trial-runs of electric buses and they will soon run on the route.

The government had conducted successful trial runs of CNG buses on July 21, 2015 and electric buses in October 2016. The government had then said that tenders have been floated to buy 25 electric buses and additional 50 such buses will be purchased and would be run on various routes of the state. This was in a bid to to decrease carbon emission in the state.
Tourists in Manali are finding going tough because many of them are not able to get a taxi to Rohtang out of the limited daily quota. Principal secretary for forest, environment sciences and technology Tarun Kapoor in April this year had said that 25 electric buses will run on Manali-Rohtang highway this season. He had said that these eco-friendly buses will provide relief to tourists and Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) officials have been directed to arrange charging points at various locations along the highway.
If the buses had run on this route this season, it would have lessened frustration among tourists. Also, bus service on the route is the only option to control overcharging. Himachal transport minister G S Bali however said that electric buses will cover the route very soon. “We were in talks with Ola, Uber and other large cab companies but they are not interested in the Himachal market. We will frame a policy for taxi companies as well,” he said.
Source Times Of India

 

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