Fate of e-bike scheme uncertain as it awaits state govt nod - Hindustan Times
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Fate of e-bike scheme uncertain as it awaits state govt nod

BySiddharth Gadkari
Oct 04, 2023 06:06 AM IST

The scheme aims to promote the use of electric vehicles and reduce air pollution in a city that has the highest number of two-wheelers in the country

PUNE: The future of the e-bike scheme hangs in the balance as it awaits the state government’s nod. The scheme aims to promote the use of electric vehicles and reduce air pollution in a city that has the highest number of two-wheelers in the country.

While the e-bike scheme was conceptualised under the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, it hit a roadblock after the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction)-Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) combine came into power in the state. (HT PHOTO)
While the e-bike scheme was conceptualised under the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, it hit a roadblock after the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction)-Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) combine came into power in the state. (HT PHOTO)

While the e-bike scheme was conceptualised under the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, it hit a roadblock after the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction)-Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) combine came into power in the state. In October 2022, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) commissioner Vikram Kumar approved the implementation of the scheme on a pilot basis for one year and allotted the tender to one VTRO Motors Pvt Ltd, which was tasked with setting up 2,000 charging points at 500 locations across the city and was expected to introduce 3,000 electric bikes in the first phase of implementation. Now however, the PMC-appointed company requires permission from the state transport department to be able to go ahead with the implementation of the scheme.

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V G Kulkarni, head of the PMC road department, said, “According to the state regional transport department, e-vehicles with a speed of 25 kilometres per hour do not need RTO registration. However, VTRO has bikes with speeds exceeding 25 kmph. The company approached the RTO for registration but because of the lack of a state policy, it did not get permission.”

Santosh Bhor, deputy RTO of the Pune division, said, “As per RTO rules, e-bikes with less than 250 watts battery (power) and a maximum speed of 25 kmph do not require RTO registration and are not considered vehicles. In case of e-bikes with more than 250 watts battery and a speed of more than 25 kmph, the state government has to take a call whether to register them or not. To begin with, the state has to frame a policy for this.”

Meanwhile, VTRO has to set up charging stations and provide e-vehicles for the scheme. Additionally, it has to develop user-friendly apps, provide manpower, and deliver essential amenities to the citizens. Besides the environmental benefits of e-bikes, the scheme will also benefit the metro. At present, the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has started feeder services for connectivity to metro stations. The ‘e-bike on rent’ scheme offers the facility of leaving the bikes at the metro stations. Therefore, there is a possibility that this service too will be used to travel to and from metro stations.

Kunal Khemnar, additional municipal commissioner, said, “Last month, the PMC had sent a letter to the state transport department for an appropriate decision but nothing has happened, yet.” State transport commissioner, Vivek Bhimanwar, did not answer our calls when we tried to contact him.

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