The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government has decided to deploy electric buses in the state’s summer capital Srinagar.
Tata Motors has already supplied ten electric buses to the Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (J&KSRTC), and 30 more are to be supplied shortly for the implementation of this pilot project.
The buses were procured under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) program of the central government.
Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, the deputy commissioner, tweeted, “A small beginning. Thirty new electric buses to hit Srinagar roads. More to follow. RTA will allot routes next week. Suggestions welcome.”
— Shahid Choudhary (@listenshahid) June 19, 2019
Mercom contacted the general manager of JKSRTC who said, “The buses were stationed in Jammu and due to the road closure and traffic conditions, transporting them to Srinagar was challenging. Also, buses need to be charged every 150 km, and the distance between Jammu and Srinagar is 300 km. The charging station has been recently set up. With the help of the district administration, 18 buses have been transported and are stationed at Qazigund, 80 km from Srinagar. Two more buses are in transit. Twenty buses will be deployed in Srinagar. Buses have been procured through FAME India, and Tata Motors has won the bid in accordance with the Make in India program. The plan is to set up six charging stations, three in Jammu and three in Srinagar. As of now, one charging station has been set up, one in both Jammu and Srinagar. Due to financial constraints, the remaining four stations will be constructed shortly. This is a part of the government’s initiative to undertake green energy projects to conserve the abundant ecology of J&K.”
The government intends to deploy electric buses for public commute in other areas of J&K in the future. Electric buses are a lot more expensive to procure as compared to those that run on fossil fuels. However, the operational costs are lower in the long run. Consequently, the fares being set up for these buses are also lower. Each bus can carry 50 passengers and can run a total of 150 km on one charge. The buses are currently stationed in Jammu. Transporting them to Srinagar will require at least one charging station between the two regions as they are 300 km apart from each other. The charging point infrastructure is currently in the planning phase. The buses are under the ‘fast charging’ category, and four charging stations are to be established shortly.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has put forward a proposal to relieve electric and battery-operated vehicles from registration charges.
Recently, the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) under the Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises, invited expressions of interest from state transport departments for the deployment of 5,000 electric buses. The focus of the government in this phase is on the electrification of public and shared transportation, with the government planning to support 5,000 e-buses at a total outlay of ₹350 million ($5.05 million).
Ramya Ranganath is an Associate Editor and Writer for Mercom Communications India. Before joining Mercom, Ramya worked as a Senior Editor at a digital media supply chain solutions company. Throughout her career, she has developed end-to-end content for various companies in a wide range of domains, including renewables. Ramya holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology and is passionate about environmental issues and permaculture.