Bhubaneswar: The city administration’s efforts to roll out an e-vehicle policy has taken a hit amid fears of the state capital not being selected for the Centre’s e-mobility scheme for its low population.
According to the eligibility criteria for the Centre’s Fame India Scheme, only cities with a population of over 10 lakh or more according to the 2011 census will be considered under the scheme. However, the city’s population according to the census was 8.43 lakh.
Bhubaneswar Puri Transport Services Limited (BPTSL) on December 1 submitted a proposal worth Rs 219 crore to the Centre to roll out the policy.
If the state capital is selected, it will get grants from the Centre under the scheme to roll out its own e-vehicle policy.
Alarmed by the situation, chief secretary A.P. Padhi has requested the Centre to reconsider and cited initiatives taken up to ensure an eco-friendly infrastructure.
“Bhubaneswar crossed the cut-off of population in 2016-17. The present population is more than 1.3 million if peri-urban growth is included. Further, the city has been at the forefront of adopting new technologies,” Padhi wrote to Union heavy industry secretary Asha Ram Sihag.
Bhubaneswar is the first city to adopt public-private-partnership mode for LED street light projects and installation of rooftop solar units at government buildings. Padhi cited these initiatives and requested that the Centre consider Bhuban-eswar’s proposal.
In his letter, Padhi referred to the European Union’s Eco-City Programme, which is under implementation with collaboration with the International Finance Corporation. Under the programme, the state capital will develop a full ecosystem of regulatory and policy framework required to promote e-mobility and non-motorised transport.
“We are on the forefront of adopting many eco-friendly initiatives.If we got the Centre’s grant, it would boost our efforts,” said mayor Ananta Narayan Jena.
Environmentalist Sailabala Padhi said: “The city has improved in adopting many environment-friendly tools and there is need to promote the initiatives.”