Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], June 20 (ANI): The capital city of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla now has 20 more electronic buses. With this, the total number of e-buses operational in the city has gone up to 70.
Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri on Monday flagged off the new fleet of 20 e-buses from Chaura Maidan in Shimla.
These new buses will ply within a radius of 30 to 40 kilometers in Shimla city. Around 200 electric buses have now joined the Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation (HRTC) fleet in Himachal. Diesel buses are being replaced with the slogan “Green Himachal, Clean Himachal”, an official release said.
Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu said that these buses will be replaced by old diesel buses in a phased manner. With the increase in the number of electric buses in the depots of Shimla, the pollution from diesel buses will reduce and this will further improve the climate of the city.
He said that electric bus charging stations have also been made in different parts of the city.
“We have made it clear during the Budget and had set a target to make Himachal Pradesh a green state. I am happy that earlier we launched 15 E-buses in Dharamshala and today we are dedicating 20 buses to the people of Shimla. The 1500 fleet of HRTC will be replaced with Electric buses. Our objective is that we are replacing electric buses and there will be combinations of both Electronic and diesel,” said the Chief Minister.
Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, who is also the transport minister, said that after the formation of the Congress government, around 200 new buses have been purchased for the HRTC fleet.
Because HRTC has more than three thousand buses, out of which 1000 to 1200 buses have completed their life. Those are being replaced with new buses. In Himachal, a target has been set to electrify 80 per cent of buses by 2026. With the introduction of 20 new electric buses in the city, where the pollution will reduce, the passengers will also get rid of the old buses which are getting damaged again and again, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said.
Both the Chief Minister and the deputy along with another cabinet, colleagues, and legislators travelled from Chaura Maidaan to Secretariat in an electric bus which was flagged off here on Monday.
The Deputy Chief Minister who is also the transport minister said that the diesel buses will be replaced by Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation in a phased manner.
The electric bus drivers are pleased to drive pollution-free buses in the smart city and state capital.
“This is a good initiative; trials for these buses were taken earlier. The electric bus is pollution free for the city, I am happy to drive this bus. This is good for Himachal and these are smart buses for smart cities. This is safe also if the door is open we can’t run the bus. We can drive this bus for 120 km after getting charged for once and we can drive it 200 km after charging here in the city,” said Vinod Kumar, bus driver while speaking to ANI.
The local residents are happy and want the government to replace all diesel-run buses with Electric buses.
“This is good and beneficial for the environment here, earlier there were very few buses in the city. Now there is an advantage of this bus, here we have trees and this will help to keep more pollution free. It would be good if the government replaced all diesel buses with E-buses,” said Roop Ram, a local resident.
The mayor of Shimla city who has planned to make Shimla pollution free and decongestion the vehicular traffic from the city said that this is a very good imitative and will help Shimla to make clean and green said that these buses will add more to make Simla and Himachal green and clean city and state.
HRTC became a pioneer among State Transport undertakings in the entire country to introduce electric mobility in the State of Himachal Pradesh, when 25 E-buses were first purchased in the year 2017.
At present HRTC has a fleet of 90 Electric buses out of which 17 E-buses are being plied at the Kullu unit, five at the Mandi Unit, three at Bilaspur, and 50 E-buses are being plied at the Local unit Dhalli.
Recently in the month of May 2023, 15 more E-buses have been added to the HRTC fleet at Dharamshala. With this new addition of 20 E-buses at Shimla, the total fleet of E-buses will be 110.
The operational cost would be less by approximately Rs.25/km as compared to diesel buses.
The salient feature of these buses is that with a single charge, they can travel up to 150 km in, ease of comfort with air suspension at the rear, and safety features like GPS, a Panic button, and CCTV cameras fitted in the bus. These buses are purchased with financial assistance from Shimla Smart City Ltd.
In addition to the above 110 E-buses, HRTC has recently floated a tender for 75 Type-1 E-buses to be plied in Shimla Local and Hamirpur, Nadaun as per the announcement of the Chief Minister during the budget speech 2023-24.
Also for 225 Type-II E-Buses, the Technical specification of E-buses required for replacement of existing Type-II diesel buses have been finalized, and the tender of which will be released by the end of this month. With this, HRTC will also become the first state in the entire country to have Type-ll E-buses suitable for operation in hilly terrain.