Shimla May, 23: Even after more than three years, the proposal to run electric buses between Manali and Rohtang Pass hangs in balance. Electric buses to the Rohtang Pass, as directed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2014, could not be a reality because the Ministry of Surface Transport has neither rejected the state’s request to fund the purchase of 25 buses in the 90:10 ratio, nor has it allocated any funds, revealed sources.
“The HRTC, which is proposed to run the service for tourists, has no funds as each bus costs Rs 2 crore. The Transport Department has placed an order to procure 20 buses from a Chinese company,” they added.
Even the Chinese company has not conveyed as to when it will supply the buses to Himachal. Besides, the HRTC has yet to set up the electric bus recharging station at Manali, the sources added. The department had conducted successful trial of both electric buses from Manali to Rohtang and between Shimla and Kalka on the NGT’s direction. But the state has put the onus on the Centre for providing the electric buses.
Manali taxi and bus operators are pressuring the state government not to run the buses as these will snatch the source of livelihood of more than 2,000 operators.The Ministry of Petroleum and Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) had also agreed to set up a CNG station in the state, but that too remained a non-starter as the state is pushing for rechargeable electric buses first, revealed the sources.
Director, Transport, Sunil Chaudhary said they were awaiting the ministry’s response for funds for electric buses in the 90:10 ratio. “We are on the job as the NGT has ordered the Transport Department, not the Centre to run electric buses on the Manali-Rohtang route, phasing out the diesel buses as early as possible,” he added.
Source Tribune India