How Assam Govt plans to replace Guwahati's city bus fleet with electronic and CNG alternatives by 2024
File photo: Olectra Greentech buses

Guwahati: An Assam government initiative to add 300 high-tech EV and CNG chugging buses to Guwahati city’s bus fleet by the end of 2023 could help accelerate a plan to phase out fossil fuel-consuming vehicles altogether by 2024.

Rahul Das, Managing Director of Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC), told EastMojo that the state government plans to make this happen in keeping with the Government of India’s call for ‘only Electric Vehicles’ on road by 2030.

“The primary reason for the roll out is the government’s commitment towards environment. These buses will not just decrease the overhead cost but will also be more convenient for running on the busy city streets,” Das told EastMojo, adding that the proposed changes were a part of both the State and Central government’s “environment-friendly” strategy.

While the Guwahati Smart City project is funding the addition of at least 300 new state-of-the-art buses for commuters in Guwahati, tenders have already been floated for the purchase of 100 TATA CNG vehicles, which come at an approximate cost of Rs 40 lakh each. The plan is to have these buses on the city streets in the first half of the new year.

The ASTC has also sealed the deal on additional 100 electric buses from Olectra Greentech Ltd, which will be capable of running 165 km after being fully charged. These buses will cost the government over Rs 1 crore each, and will travel intercity.

The only drawback of such a ‘green’ policy was the high cost of these state-of-the-art vehicles, but Das says the government was already mulling “subsidies and other benefits” for private players interested in rolling out such vehicles.

Das added that the process to procure an additional 100 low-end EV buses, capable of running 120 km after a full charge, was also underway. “The deal did not go through twice in the past. But we expect to finalize the tender by November this year,” Das said.

The ASTC, in collaboration with Assam Gas Company, is also in the process of setting up five charging stations on the outskirts of the city: at Rupnagar, ISBT, Jagiroad, Mirza, and Baihata.

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