Post Report, The Kathmandu Post, February 07, 2018
Sajha Yatayat plans to introduce the first electric bus within two months and the next three in the first half of this year as pilot models for public transport.
Board member with the public transport co-operative Bhushan Tuladhar says this green plan would come to fruition in co-operation with the private sector.
The plan envisages introducing several models to promote electric buses with support from government and non-governmental agencies.
Tuladhar also called for using tax revenue earned by the government from petroleum-products to control air pollution.
“The capital expenditure to raise a fleet of e-buses may appear high in the, but many such buses can be bought with the tax collected per year. We have billions of unspent rupees in the fund that should be used for promoting electric public transport,” said Tuladhar.
He urged residents should be encouraged to use electric vehicles instead of expensive petrol and diesel vehicles that pollute Nepal’s environment.
Since 2007, the government charges 50 paisa per litre on diesel and petrol with the objective to spend that on programmes and activities aimed at tackling air pollution in the Valley. However, the fund that has grown to around Rs. 5 billion remains idle at the Ministry of Finance for over a decade now.
Nepal government has already endorsed some policies aimed at promoting electric vehicles. The Environment Friendly Vehicle and Transport Policy (2014) targets to increase the share of electric vehicles up to 20 per cent by 2020 as well as expanding EV infrastructures, advancing domestic EV manufacture among others. Nepal’s climate change commitments under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) for the transport sector also envisages 20 per cent share of electric vehicles, reducing fossil fuel dependence by 50 per cent by 2050 and significantly improving air-quality by 2025.
Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE) joint-secretary Ram Prasad Lamsal said, “These technologies are still expensive, but improving and getting cheaper as well. It’s not that we cannot achieve these targets. However, we must admit that we are behind so far.” The number of EVs in the country is currently negligible compared to traditional transport.