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Proposal to Centre to run electric vehicles in Odisha capital

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Bhubaneswar: Aiming to reduce pollution and to ensure cleaner and greener environment in the fast growing smart city, a proposal was submitted to the Centre to introduce electric vehicles as the public transport alternatives.

The Rs 219.75 crore-e-mobility proposal was submitted by the Bhubaneswar Puri Transport Services (BPTS), which is managing the city bus services in Bhubaneswar, to the Department of Heavy Industries seeking to launch electric buses, four-wheelers and three-wheelers and two-wheeler and use those through various charging points, which will be in place in phases.

The proposal was sent after the Department of Heavy Industries sought expression of interests from Million Plus cities to adopt the e-mobility plan and lessen the environmental burden.

Through strategic investments in public transit infrastructure, the Temple City Bhubaneswar is aiming to induce a shift by 20 percent travel to public transport by 2021.

As per its Bus Modernization Plan, 32 km of Priority Transit Corridors will require 92 new electric buses to move 192,000 daily passengers. For first-last mile connectivity within its Area Based Development (ABD) of the Smart City Proposal, the city proposes deployment of 500 e-rickshaws, allied infrastructure and charging stations by 2021.

These two project proposals combined will act as a catalyst to help Bhubaneswar achieve its target of 30% of vehicle travel in the city through electric vehicles by 2030, the BPTS mentioned in the proposal.

Proposed e-bus routes

Notably, the number of vehicles in the city has increased almost three-fold during 2004-14. Along with rapid increase in two-wheelers and four-wheelers, the city has observed a swift increase in 3-wheelers (auto rickshaws), which has increased at an alarming rate of 13 percent per annum, more than the national average.

The auto rickshaws contribute to 24 percent of total trips in the city which is far more than the desirable standard of 5 percent for a city of the size of Bhubaneswar.

On the other hand, the city buses merely carry 6 percent of the total trips, and there is lack of any other robust public transport system in the city.

With an intent to become Transit Oriented and Eco-City, the city governance endeavors to strengthen the city bus service, bring new legal framework for compact urban form, move towards cleaner technologies to minimize carbon footprint. The city aims to be a model of low-impact carbon neutral development using innovations in transportation and green infrastructure.

As essential projects from the Smart City Proposal, the e-mobility plan further details the way to achieve a boost for non-motorized transport environment in the form of projects like Bhubaneswar Cycle Highway by creating dedicated cycle paths along 32 km stretch in the city to provide safe and smooth mobility to cyclists, dedicated routes, charging points and aggregation service for electric cycle rickshaws (e-rickshaws), implementing the Public Bicycle Sharing System and implement an intelligent transportation system in the city along with a Command Control Centre to provide safe and easy mobility solutions and seamless management of traffic on the city roads.

Sources in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that the city authorities would go ahead with the e-mobility plan, once the proposal gets the approval from the Centre.

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