Prime Minister KP Oli in his address to the nation last week promised to immediately introduce electric public transport in the capital. Similar words have been spoken by many other leaders in the past. But, promoters of electric vehicles say the government has shown no enthusiasm towards making that possible.
When promoters of NEVI Trade Link, the company involved in Safa Tempo campaign, requested route permits for its electric buses, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), turned down the request citing unsafe design. The company then added walls to the buses’ previous design and once again filed a request. This time, their application was rejected citing lack of policies regarding electric vehicles.
“Every time we apply for route permit the department comes up with new ways to reject our application,” said Dharma Kumar Shrestha, managing director of NEVI, who has been trying to obtain permits for electric buses since 2011.
According to Rajesh Paudel, chief of Transport Management Office in Bagmati, the e-buses couldn’t get permits because of a provision introduced two years ago that requires public vehicles plying inside the Ring Road to seat minimum of 26. The e-buses can only seat 14. However, he said permits will be issued to vehicles plying outside the Ring Road.
According to Krishna Chandra Paudel of Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, the government is serious about promoting the use of electric vehicles.
“There’s a plan to reduce the 60% tax on e-vehicles to 10%. We are also encouraging establishment of charging stations at various locations,” said Paudel.
Earlier, a report prepared by a committee from DoTM had suggested policy reforms as well as slashing taxes on electric vehicles to promote their use. But nothing much has come of it.
“People are beginning to pay attention to electric vehicles now and even the government seems interested in pushing its use due to the current fuel crisis. But once the blockade is over, we doubt it’ll be on the government’s priority list,” said Shrestha.
Electrified transportation Sahina Shrestha