Himachal Pradesh is taking steps to reform the state’s transport sector with innovative ideas and will shortly introduce a new electric vehicle policy, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said.
Agnihotri test-drove an electric vehicle from the Secretariat and inquired about its technical aspects. He said positive efforts would be made to radically change the transport sector. Discussions are being held at various levels to introduce the new policy, he said.
“Initially, the operation of electric vehicles will be promoted at the Secretariat. Thereafter, their use will be increased in public transport,” Agnihotri said. Environmental protection and promoting electric vehicles in the state, a popular tourism destination, are the priorities of the government. A decision will soon be taken about the purchase of electric vehicles, he said.
The government will take appropriate steps to provide charging facilities. “In the initial phase, this facility will be provided in various government institutions, including the Secretariat and at Himachal Sadan and bhawans outside the state,” he said. A fleet of electric vehicles will be inducted in the Transport department soon and necessary instructions have already been issued to the transport director.
The deputy chief minister added that an electric vehicle was provided to the chief minister during the previous government as well. However, it was later handed over to the General Administration department. Agnihotri said after discussions with Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the policy will be placed before the Cabinet. Talks will also be held with the Centre. Appropriate steps will also be taken to set up new driving test tracks to ensure compliance with road safety standards, he said.
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation has about 1,000 vehicles of zero book value and these will be replaced by electric vehicles in a phased manner. Electric buses will also be included in the fleet in the new policy.
“The electric vehicle policy will prove fruitful in reducing this loss. It will also reduce the daily expenditure of about Rs 1.5 crore incurred by the corporation,” he said.
The state government, in the initial phase, aims to reduce the corporation’s losses so that it can be brought to a “no profit no loss” position. Its fleet of long-distance buses will also be strengthened. Around 125 long-distance buses ply outside the corporation’s purview daily and the Transport department has been instructed to submit a report regarding their operation and registration.