Chandigarh admn stops registering diesel buses till September 30 - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh admn stops registering diesel buses till September 30

By, Chandigarh
Jun 20, 2023 02:46 AM IST

Under Chandigarh admn’s Electric Vehicle policy, diesel and electric buses have to be registered in 50:50 ratio every six months, but not a single electric bus has been recorded in 2023-24 so far

Working on promoting eco-friendly transportation in Chandigarh, the State Transport Authority (STA) has decided not to register diesel-run tourist, school/college and company buses till September 30, 2023.

For buses, under Centre’s FAME-II scheme, the Chandigarh administration provides a subsidy of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>20,000 per kWh for electric buses, capped at 40% of the vehicle cost or <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>55 lakh, whichever is lower. (HT File Photo)
For buses, under Centre’s FAME-II scheme, the Chandigarh administration provides a subsidy of 20,000 per kWh for electric buses, capped at 40% of the vehicle cost or 55 lakh, whichever is lower. (HT File Photo)

In 2023-24, as decided under the Chandigarh Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy, the administration plans to register electric and diesel buses in a 50:50 ratio.

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However, over two months into the current financial year, while STA has registered 50 diesel buses, not a single electric bus has been recorded, prompting the authority to stop further registrations of the former till September 30.

With Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) planning to add more 80 electric buses to its fleet by September, STA may allow registrations of 30 more diesel buses to maintain the ratio mandated under the EV policy.

All commercial vehicles in Chandigarh are registered with STA.

“We have stopped registering buses in line with the EV Policy 2022. We are considering the 50:50 quota every six months and 50 diesel buses have already been registered in 2023-24, while no electric bus has been bought. To maintain the ratio, registrations of diesel buses will resume only from October 1,” said a senior STA officer, not wishing to be named.

“Last year, we registered 50 diesel buses and 50 electric ones, which were introduced by CTU. For 2024-25, the ratio will be 60:40, which means 60 electric buses and 40 diesel buses, while in 2025-26, the ratio will be 80:20, and finally, only electric buses will be registered in 2026-27,” the officer said.

At present, there are around 3,500 diesel buses in the city. Among them, 2,000 ferry school and college students, and 1,000 tourists and company employees. The remaining 500 are part of the CTU fleet.

The EV policy, which was notified in September 2022, will be applicable for five years, during which the administration plans to gradually stop registering fuel-run vehicles to dissuade people from buying vehicles that cause pollution.

The target is to make Chandigarh a “Model EV City” by achieving 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by the end of the five-year policy period.

Incentives are being offered for up to 42,000 vehicles of different categories, including 25,000 e-cycles, 1,000 e-bikes, and 3,000 cars.

For buses, under Centre’s FAME-II scheme, UT provides a subsidy of 20,000 per kWh for electric buses, capped at 40% of the vehicle cost or 55 lakh, whichever is lower.

Besides, road tax has also been waived on registration of all electric vehicles.

Transporters flay move

Amrit Pal Singh, a member of the Chandigarh Tourist Bus Association, said, “It is an arbitrary decision. All tourist buses leave the city in 15 minutes and there are no EV charging stations outside Chandigarh. So, how will electric buses ply on long routes? Also, the cost of an electric bus is nearly 1.5 crore, while a diesel bus costs around 45 lakh. Why is UT targeting only buses? What about pollution-causing trucks?”

He said the association will move court if the administration failed to review the decision.

Manjit Singh, former president of Chandigarh School Bus Operators’ Welfare Association, said, “This is complete dictatorship on the part of the UT administration. Transporters buying an electric bus for 1.5 crore will only increase burden on students. Consequently, no student will opt for buses that will cause our business to completely fail.”

UT to stop registering non-electric two-wheelers from July, cars from Dec

Also, in accordance with its EV Policy, the administration will stop registering non-electric two-wheelers from the first week of July and even non-electric cars by December as the permitted number of such vehicles in the current financial year is expected to be met by then.

In the current financial year, 6,202 internal combustion engine (ICE) two-wheelers can be registered in the city as decided under the policy. After reaching the capped number, their registration will be stopped and only electric two-wheelers will be registered. Till now around 4,700 ICE two-wheelers have been registered.

“After achieving the registration targets of the respective non-electric vehicles, their registration (permanent and temporary) will not be allowed in Chandigarh. The target of non-electric two-wheelers is likely to be achieved by the first week of July and that of four-wheelers by December end,” said Pradhuman Singh, registering and licensing authority (RLA), Chandigarh.

Ranjiv Dahuja, president of the Federation of Chandigarh Region Automobile Dealers, said, “The UT administration is just out to prove that it’s unique. There is no capping on registrations in another state or Union territory. Also, when there is insufficient public infrastructure to deal with electric vehicles, how can authorities force people to buy them?”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Hillary Victor is a Principal Correspondent at Chandigarh. He covers Chandigarh administration, municipal corporation and all political parties.

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