Delhi

Launch of 150 e-buses triggers battle for credit

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal takes a selfie with Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot at the flag-off ceremony of the electric buses in New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal takes a selfie with Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot at the flag-off ceremony of the electric buses in New Delhi | Photo Credit: PTI

The event to flag off 150 electric buses by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday was marked by a political spat between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The BJP said the Delhi government was taking credit for the induction of the new vehicles that were subsidised by the Centre under its “FAME-2” scheme.

Amit Malviya, BJP’s national in-charge of Information and Technology, tweeted on Tuesday, “Arvind Kejriwal has announced free bus ride for 3 days on the 150 new e-buses. But what he hasn’t told you is that these buses have been provided by the Modi govt. under the FAME-2 program. Typical of Kejriwal to take credit for initiatives of the Central government…”

Former Delhi BJP president and Rohini MLA Vijender Gupta also criticised the Delhi CM for “presenting the e-buses provided to Delhi by the Modi government” as an achievement of his own government.

“AAP government has offered three days of free rides on the e-buses, which were allotted to Delhi by the Modi government under its FAME 2 scheme,” Mr. Gupta said.

“Under the Central government scheme, 5,595 electric buses have been sanctioned to 64 cities for intra-city and intercity operations. Out of this, Delhi has been allotted 300 e-buses,” Mr. Gupta added.

He said the 150 electric buses flagged off by the CM were part of these 300 buses allotted to Delhi.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor wrote to Mr. Kejriwal saying that previously the DTC buses had inscribed JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) logo on its buses when the Delhi government had received them under a grant from the then Congress-led Centre.

‘Technical issues’

A Delhi government source said the mention of the FAME scheme was not inscribed on the e-buses “due to technical issues”, adding, “Over the coming days we will ensure that the FAME scheme logos are inscribed on these buses.”

“As far as the subsidy is concerned, the amount received from the Centre for the procurement of these vehicles has been minuscule compared to the cost to be incurred by the Delhi government,” the source also said.

Clarifying the Centre’s contribution towards the procurement of the electric buses, Mr. Kejriwal said, “The Delhi government is planning to spend a total of ₹1,862 crore on this project over the next 10 years, while the Centre has provided ₹150 crore for it for which we are grateful,” he said.

Flagging off the e-buses, the Delhi CM said, “It is a momentous day in Delhi’s history — 150 new electric buses have been added to the DTC [Delhi Transport Corporation] fleet and will hit the roads today. We flagged these buses off and even went for a ride in one of them. These buses are highly impressive, beautifully built, and extremely comfortable to travel in.”

‘Milestone event’

Mr. Kejriwal described the launch of the electric buses as a milestone in Delhi government’s ongoing battle with pollution.

“This launch has marked the beginning of a new era in the transport sector, ushering in the age of more and more electric buses to hit Delhi’s roads and curb pollution on a large scale,” Mr. Kejriwal added.

With the induction of these buses, the city’s public bus fleet has crossed the 7,200 mark — the highest so far.

The CM said 150 more e-buses will be inducted by next month and by 2023 the city will get 2,000 new e-buses.


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 2:19:49 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/cm-flags-off-150-e-buses-calls-it-a-milestone-in-govts-fight-against-pollution/article65457760.ece