The state has experimented with different types of clean fuels in an attempt to phase out diesel, earlier the KTC had tested biogas and ethanol buses, but they were found not to be feasible in Goa as the raw material required to run them was not freely available in the state.
The state government of Goa this week signed an agreement with the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to get help in procuring 100 electric buses and setting up a charging infrastructure in the state that will cover all major bus stands, according to transport minister Ramkrishna Dhavalikar. For the state, which has been in the news recently for overcrowding and traffic and pollution issues of its own, the move is timely.
“We will eventually try to replace diesel buses with electric ones, including those run by Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited (KTC). We will be appealing to the petroleum companies to make provision for charging stations at fuel stations. The charging stations will be available to any vehicle for use, even private electric vehicles, as slowly all vehicles will be electric ones,” said Dhavalikar.
The minister also confirmed that the drivers for all the new buses will also be initially provided through NTPC, while the conductors will be from Goa. The state has experimented with different types of clean fuels in an attempt to phase out diesel, earlier the KTC had tested biogas and ethanol buses, but they were found not to be feasible in Goa as the raw material required to run them was not freely available in the state.
When those doors were closed the possibility of acquiring electric buses was considered. However, due to the high cost of these buses which stand at nearly Rs 2.6 crore each, the KTC had asked for assistance from the Centre to acquire the buses. Though expensive, electric vehicles are believed to be low on maintenance besides being environmentally friendly and something that the center is eagerly looking to promote. Union minister Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari is promoting the shift to electric vehicles, and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has also announced that the state wants to be one of the first in the country to shift to the environment-friendly electric vehicles. A drop in prices has also helped, with Chinese leader BYD entering a market with its JV partner in Hyderabad.
On Wednesday, Dhavalikar also revealed that the state plans to launch a 75-seater solar-powered boat for use in the state. “The tendering process is complete. A Porvorim-based person, one Dandekar, has been awarded the tender for the construction. He has experience in the work. The boat will be ready this year,“ he said while confirming that that work has already begun and the state is looking to add 3 more before the end of the year.