The government is ready to give "on a platter" all necessary regulatory clearances to investors ready to run public transport buses on electricity or alternative fuel, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Friday. Major automobile manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland could also form an operator company on the pattern of London Transport model, the minister proposed while promising to remove regulatory hurdles to give a push to e-vehicles in India.
"I will give you all clearances on a platter...clearances have been major hurdle causing delays in projects and resulting in cost overruns... Come forward for public transport system on electricity or alternative fuel," Gadkari said while addressing the Global Mobility Summit here.
Gadkari, who heads the Road Transport and Highways departments, said London transport model could easily be adopted in India which lacks public transport buses as state transport corporations were unable to meet the huge demand. He said the segment offers huge potential and air-conditioned buses could easily be run on electricity or biofuel on routes like Ludhiana-Delhi and Jaipur-Delhi.
"Private people should come forward for a model like London transport here. I have urged manufacturers that apart from manufacturing buses you open an operator company. They will get business. If manufacturers like Tata, Ashok Leyland could invest and introduce a fleet of such buses, it can easily be run," the minister said on the sidelines of the summit.
He said such fleet could be launched on the pattern of Transport for London (TfL) model. TfL is the agency that manages the transport system for Greater London. It has created a unique system of operating buses in public-private partnership (PPP) model with over 17 operators under a single brand. A salient feature has been its double-decker buses which provide for high capacity with low road space requirement. It also operates a large number of electric and hybrid buses.
The minister also said that he was keen to promote electric highways in India which will not only make transportation cheaper but divert cargo from rails. "I am ready for electric highways. We can put electric cables in a lane of Delhi-Mumbai expressway and 40-tonne capacity trucks can easily go on that ... We will give right of way and clearances for the project. We have said if somebody wants to come then he or she is welcome. If anyone wants to run cable car we are ready to give clearances and right of way," the minister said.
He said that the internal rate of return for such projects could be viable as electricity is cheaper than petrol and diesel. He also said that broad-gauge metros could also be planned on railway tracks. Sweden has developed a new electric highway technology, a result of several years of cooperation between the Swedish government and the private sector, which permits trucks to operate as electric vehicles when on the electrified road and as regular hybrid vehicles at other times.
The minister also appealed to the industry to explore inland waterways and coastal shipping as alternate and cheaper means of transportation. Road Transport and Highways Secretary Yudhvir Singh Malik underlined the need to shift concentration towards developing more public transport in intercity travel. He said stressed on substituting personal vehicles with public transport.
He said there is over 10 times growth in the number of vehicles in the last 25 years. The number of two-wheelers has exploded, the share of cars is lesser, and that of buses is down hugely. This has necessitated re-inventing public transport system in the country.
The two-day Global Mobility Summit has been organised by Niti Aayog in New Delhi as a platform to rethink and deliberate upon ways to move people and goods more efficiently.