Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 25
To improve the city’s public transport and reduce pollution, the Amritsar Smart City project envisions replacement of the old diesel autos plying in the city with e-autos under the Smart City Mission. The project is being funded by Amritsar Smart City Limited and the French Development Agency (AFD) under the supervision of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
Giving more information about it, Amritsar Smart City Ltd CEO Komal Mittal said, “Amritsar will be the first city in the country where e-autos will be made part of the public transport system on such a large scale. Significant subsidy will be provided to auto drivers along with easy access to loans at favourable terms.”
In the first phase, it is proposed for replacement of approximately 7,000 diesel autos. The replaced autorickshaws will be scrapped to prevent it from getting resold or reused. She said e-autos were more sustainable and futuristic in terms of technology in comparison to the CNG autos. E-autos will help in reducing the level of noise and air pollution in the city, at a significantly lower vehicle operation cost.
According to officials, the operational cost of diesel and CNG autos is Rs 2.68 and Rs 1.48 per km whereas it is 0.68 paise in case of e-autos. The annual maintenance cost of diesel and CNG autos is Rs 16,000 and 12,000, respectively. For e-auto, it is only Rs 5,000.
The Punjab government has also exempted permit fee, motor vehicle tax and vehicle passing fee for e-autos, whereas no such discount is provided to diesel and CNG auto owners.
According to Mittal, 20 to 25 locations in the city have been identified for setting up charging stations for which expression of interest has already been floated. Electronic autos are also superior to the currently available e-rickshaws in terms of speed, engine power, battery life, passenger safety and comfort.
“Work on this project has been going on for the last one year. Considering the economic situation of auto-rickshaw drivers after the Covid lockdown, the subsidy amount is being increased from the previously planned one. The scheme is scheduled for a grand launch in January next year,” she added.
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