Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 3
Having been one of the leading states to start use of electric vehicles for public transport, the Himachal Government now plans to start a pilot project to make two tourist towns as model cities for electric vehicle readiness and adoption.
“The Cabinet has given nod to the Draft Electric Vehicles Policy and we will soon start electric vehicle project in two tourist towns, be it Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala or Dalhousie so that people can be encouraged to switch over to pollution-free electric vehicles,” said Thakur. He said the use of electric vehicles will go a long way in reducing pollution levels.
Under the pilot project in any two tourist towns, low or zero emission zones will be created where only electric vehicles, walking or cycling will be permitted. The local urban bodies will be asked to identify the zones, regulations and timings. Priority will be given to tourist spots, eco-sensitive areas and reserve forests so as to have minimum emission levels.
The Electric Vehicle Policy aims to support sustainable, safe, eco-friendly and integrated mobility solutions in the hill state. The government has set a target to convert 15 per cent of the 21 lakh vehicles into electric vehicles for which incentives will be offered in the policy. Presently, 75 electric buses are being plied by the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) besides 50 electric taxis and 150 three wheelers.
The policy envisages use of electric vehicles by government institutions and in public transport. In order to encourage people to use electric vehicles, certain incentives like road tax exemption leviable under Himachal Pradesh Vehicles Taxation Act, 1972 and permit exemptions have already been given. Also, there would be exclusive reserved parking for electric vehicles with charging infrastructure in high-volume parking spaces.
Himachal is amongst the few states to adopt electric vehicles and use them for public transport. It was on the directives of National Green Tribunal (NGT) that the experiment to use electric vehicles on the ecologically fragile 51 kms stretch between Manali-Rohtang was undertaken. Ever since, these buses are being used not just on this route but also in the state capital of Shimla.
However, the challenge faced by the government is to provide a network of public charging station, both in the cities as well as on the highways. This will include the fast charging stations on the busy national highways and slow charging ones on the state highways.
Low or zero emission zones to be created
- Under the pilot project in any two tourist towns, low or zero emission zones will be created where only electric vehicles, walking or cycling will be permitted. The local urban bodies will be asked to identify the zones, regulations and timings.
- Priority will be given to tourist spots, eco-sensitive areas and reserve forests so as to have minimum emission levels.
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