The number of AC electric buses in Kolkata swelled to 80 on Wednesday, with the transport minister Suvendu Adhikari inaugurating 10 more vehicles.
The West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) plans to run only electric buses, after phasing out the existing diesel-run vehicles.
While most of the new buses will ply existing routes of AC12 and AC23A, a new route, from Howrah Station to Salt Lake’s Karunamoyee (AC59A) was also introduced. “Electric buses will reduce the carbon footprint of WBTC, which serves the Kolkata metropolitan area. We aim to be a zero-emission corporation by 2030,” said a senior WBTC officer, adding the plan was to have an entire fleet of 5,000 electric buses in a decade.
With the e-buses replacing the old, fume-spewing vehicles, the carbon dioxide emission will be cut down by 7,82,560 tonnes a year. But the shift would be gradual, said a senior transport official. A total of 100 new e-buses are being bought for Haldia and Durgapur-Asansol and the government is ready to set up 241 charging stations in Kolkata. New Town, which also houses a booming IT hub, already has a fleet of e-buses and the number will go up to 50.
“The state has got approval for another 150 electric buses under the Fame II scheme,” an official said. All depots of West Bengal Transport Corporation at Tollygunge, Kidderpore, Kasba, Gariahat, Park Circus, Rajabazar, Lake Gardens, Belgachia, Nabanna and Santragachi, have been provided with charging infrastructure. Some private organisations are also setting up facilities for charging in the city.
The transport department on Wednesday also granted sanction letters to 1,500 beneficiaries under Gatidhara scheme and distributed 10 trauma-care ambulances to different organisations under road safety programme. The Howrah City Police got 10 motorcycles and CCTV cameras for traffic management. Two long-distance permits for AC buses, one from Santragachi to Patna and the other from Contai to Puri, were also given.
Source: Times of India