Mangaluru, Sep 07, 2019: Karnataka is seriously going in for electric buses, with the state government looking to green light a proposal by a private firm which has offered to manufacture and operate the buses in the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who is in charge of the transport department, stated that the government was mulling sanctioning 250 acres of land to the firm, Sepel, at Mangaluru, where a manufacturing unit of electric buses will come up.
Savadi said the move was part of the government’s efforts to attract foreign investment in the transport sector.
“World Bank is funding the project and the company will run the buses on a ‘profit-sharing’ basis. The government will have to invest nothing and the company will run the buses for 15 years,” he said.
The deputy chief minister said the ratio of profit-sharing between the government and the company will be negotiated. “Apart from Karnataka, the firm has approached a few other states and is in the process of signing an deal with Assam State Transport Corporation,” Savadi pointed out.
“The company has sought 250 acres of land at a location that has rail, air and port connectivity for a manufacturing unit. They will pay for the land and the state has plans to sanction land in Mangaluru,” he said.
To a question, he said the state can acquire electric buses for any of its transport corporations from the company. “We are also looking at manufacturing and supplying the electric buses to other states,” he said.
On the issue of last-mile connectivity, he said that apart from Bengaluru, rural areas in the state, too, were facing the problem. “Steps will be taken to address the concerns of residents in Bengaluru. Similarly, a report has also been sought from the transport department on villages that still do not have bus connectivity,” he said.
On revision of ticket fares, he said that though there was a proposal, a decision was yet to be made as the government did not want to burden the people.