West Bengal sets 2030 deadline for e-vehicle revolution

BP Desk

The transport department has prepared a roadmap for shifting to electric mode in the public transportation sector of Kolkata. Echoing mayor Firhad Hakim’s statement at C40 World Mayors’ Summit in Copenhagen, transport secretary Narayan Swarup Nigam said: “Our plan is to completely shift to electric mode by 2030. We already have our tram network and a formidable metro network across the city is also coming up soon.”

On Thursday, the city won the prestigious C40 award in Copenhagen for green mobility. Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the seven winners of the 2019 C40 Cities. For Kolkata, mayor Firhad Hakim received the award, report agencies. 

In his award acceptance speech, Hakim said: “West Bengal Transport Corporation has already introduced a fleet of electric buses that connects Kolkata and its expansive suburbs. WBTC plans to have an entire city fleet of 5,000 electric buses by 2030. This would bring down per annum CO2 emmission by 782,560 tonnes. Under FAME-II (faster adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles) scheme, we have already placed order for 300 more electric buses. All these e-buses will replace old polluting buses. The shift will be gradual, said a senior officer.

Kolkata has already got 80 electric buses plying across the city. New Town alone will have 50 e-buses shortly. We are also bringing in 100 more e-buses for Haldia and Durgapur-Asansol. Completing a 100 per cent shift is a decade-long process, said a senior transport department officer.

Not only buses, the transport department is also exploring ways to start battery-run ferry services along the Hooghly. The vessels which ferry thousands of passengers across the river every day are big diesel guzzlers and highly polluting. We are already in conversation with a number of e-vessel manufacturers, said an officer. The state government is ready with a plan of setting up 241 charging stations for electric vehicles in Kolkata Metropolitan Area.

“It will be a remarkable step. The City of Joy could act as a light-house for other metro cities in the country,” said Alekhya Datta, Fellow & Area Convenor, Electricity and Fuels Division, TERI.