The state transport department has received an approval for purchasing 150 electric buses under the union government’s flagship programme of ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles’ (FAMEII), while the department is also mulling over plans to introduce CNG buses in Kolkata, informed Mr Suvendu Adhikari, state transport minister today. The minister was speaking during the flagging off ceremony of 20 electric buses of West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) for the city and 20 CNG buses of South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) to be rolled out in Asansol and Durgapur.

“We had sought approval for more than 300 electric buses for rolling out in our state. However, for now we have got a nod for 150 electric buses,” said Mr Adhikari. “Of the 150 e-vehicles, 25 will be rolled out in Asansol, 25 in Siliguri, 50 in Haldia and remaining 50 in New Town and Rajarhat.” Notably, the transport department had sent a proposal to the Central Ministry of Heavy Industry last month seeking approval to purchase 500 electric buses under the Central scheme FAME II for Kolkata, Siliguri, Cooch Behar, Durgapur and Haldia. The proposal had been sent following central government’s instructions to the transport departments across states to send proposals for deployment of e-buses.

The department is asserting on the maximisation of the usage of the pollution-free evehicles. For this, the officials are considering plans to introduce policies, to enable common people purchase the environment-friendly e-vehicles. “We have developed 55 charging stations in and around the city where not only electric buses can be charged, but people of the city also will be able to charge their private e-vehicles. We have also instructed other transport corporations of North and South Bengal to develop charging stations at their bus depots.

“ The initiative according to the minister has been taken to curb pollution levels in the state and the districts. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board has also extended its support in bringing down the pollution level by contributing 40 CNG buses in two phases that are plying in various parts of Asansol and Durgapur. After districts, the department is now putting efforts to introduce CNG buses in Kolkata for which the officials are discussing the matter with Gail India Limited for setting up of pipelines.