The Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) will replace its city buses with electric and compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered variety in the next five years in a bid to curb pollution by minimizing carbon emission.
State Transport Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said that the process to procure the electric and CNG buses has begun. He said that the decision was made following drastic climate change due to high pollution levels. Vehicular pollution is one of the major concerns adding that it has posed a serious threat to public health as well as the environment.
According to reports, there are about 700 privately-owned city buses, all of which run on diesel. Among them, 260 are under ASTC. 15 electric city buses under ASTC run in the city roads since 2019. These were procured under the Faster Adoption and Manufacture of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) India scheme, which encourage production and use of hybrid and electric vehicles by providing subsidies.
The minister further stated that the work for installation of CNG stations in the city has already started. He said that the government has already floated a few tenders for setting up CNG stations saying that the owners of the present fuel stations can also opt for installation of CNG stations.
The minister further stated that the government will implement a policy under which people will get subsidies at the time of purchasing electric or CNG-powered buses.
The replacement of the petrol and diesel-run buses of the ASTC will later take place in other parts of the state.
All the government vehicles in Assam will be converted to electric vehicles by 2030 in a bid to curb carbon emission as per the Electric Vehicle Policy of the state. Only electric vehicles will be allowed to purchase by the government departments after 2025.