Bagmati Province to operate electric buses by mid-MayProvince to procure vehicles itself, after an agreement between the government and Sajha Yatayat Co-operative fell apart over share issues.
After an agreement between the provincial government and Sajha Yatayat Co-operative recently fell apart, as the latter refused to sell shares to the provincial and local governments, the provincial government has now announced it will procure vehicles without the assistance of the co-operative and start operating electric buses by mid-May.
“We have been working to kickstart the operation of electric buses by mid-May. One should not depend only on the private sector to provide service to the people. We will purchase the electric buses ourselves,” said Chief Minister Dormani Paudel who is also handling the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation.
Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning of Bagmati Province Kailash Prasad Dhungel, Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Bidya Sundar Shakya, Mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City Chiri Babu Maharjan, and then Chairperson of Sajha Yatayat Co-operative Kanak Mani Dixit had signed a four-party memorandum of understanding on July last year to buy the new electric buses. The government had also handed over Rs 300 million to purchase the electric buses.
“We had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an agreement that the provincial government would also have a share in Sajha Yatayat. The new leadership in Sajha said it could not give a share to the provincial government and the local bodies. So we backtracked from the agreement,” said Dipak Niraula, a member of Bagmati Province Assembly. He is also the chairman of a committee formed to take initiative to operate electric buses.
The provincial government is preparing to introduce bills related to form a corporation for the operation of the electric buses. According to Niraula, efforts are on to purchase 30 electric buses in the first phase of the project. “The electric buses will operate in Kathmandu Valley, Kavre, Chitwan and Makwanpur in the first phase. The electric buses will be run along the Kathmandu-Narayangadh-Hetauda route as well,” said Niraula.
The provincial Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation is planning to set up charging stations in five places. The charging stations will be built in Hetauda, Chitwan, Kathmandu, Dhulikhel and one between Kathmandu and Muglin, according to Niraula.
Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolis Shakya, Lalitpur’s Maharjan, Mayor of Bharatpur Renu Dahal and Mayor Hetauda Sub-metropolis Hari Bahadur Mahat recently discussed regarding the operation of the electric buses. Kathmandu Metropolitan City has already announced to invest Rs 100 million to purchase electric buses.