Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said that new electric vehicle policy was being implemented in Himachal Pradesh with innovative ideas and the state government was taking steps towards reform in the transport sector.The Deputy Chief Minister was addressing on the occasion of a test drive of electric vehicles here today.
He also got information about its technical aspects by riding in an electric vehicle for some distance from the state Secretariat.Mukesh Agnihotri said that positive efforts would be made in the direction of radical change in the transport sector in the state. Discussions were being held at various levels to implement the new electric vehicle policy.
"Initially, the operation of electric vehicles will be promoted in the HP Secretariat and thereafter the use of electric vehicles will be increased in public transport services as well", he said.The Deputy Chief Minister said that a fleet of electric vehicles would also be inducted in the Transport Department very soon and for which necessary instructions have been issued to the Director Transport.
He said that information about various technical aspects including test drives of electric vehicles was being obtained by contacting various companies. He said that during the previous government also an electric vehicle was provided for the Chief Minister. However, it was later handed over to the General Administration.
Mukesh Agnihotri said that after discussion with the Chief Minister, the matter about the reform in electric vehicle policy would be placed in the state Cabinet. Apart from this, talks would also be held with the Central government. "Environmental protection in the hill state and promoting the operation of electric vehicles in this tourism state is the priority of the state government and a decision will be taken soon about the purchase of electric vehicles", said the deputy CM.
He said that the government would take appropriate steps for providing facilities for charging of electric vehicles for which charging stations would be set up as per proper parameters. "In the initial phase, this facility will be provided in various government institutions of the state including HP secretariat and in Himachal Sadan and Bhawans etc. outside the state", he said.
Mukesh Agnihotri said that while strengthening the vehicle licensing system, appropriate steps would also be taken in the direction of setting up new driving test tracks to ensure compliance with road safety standards. The officials have been asked to study about this.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) currently has about 1000 vehicles of zero book value and these would be replaced by electric vehicles in a phased manner. Electric buses would also be included in the corporation's fleet in the new electric vehicle policy.
Mukesh Agnihotri said that he had convened a review meeting of the Transport Department yesterday, in which the HRTC's huge losses to the HRTC came to the fore. "Electric vehicle policy will prove fruitful in reducing this loss, besides reducing the daily expenditure of about Rs. 1.5 crore incurred on the Corporation", said the deputy CM.
He said that it would be the endeavor of the state government to reduce the losses of the HRTC in the initial phase so that it could be at least brought to the "no profit no loss" position.He said that the fleet of Volvo buses of the Corporation would also be strengthened.
He said that around 125 Volvo vehicles were plying daily outside the purview of the corporation. The Transport Department has been instructed to submit a report regarding the process of operation of these vehicles and their registration.On this occasion Principal Secretary Transport R.D. Nazim, Director Transport Anupam Kashyap and other senior officials were also present.