Friday, June 2

Climate concerns run supreme, yet e-buses not welcome in Leh


Leh: As climate concerns are made to dominate Ladakh’s political narrative, the government’s mitigating efforts are hitting literal roadblocks with no support from leadership coming in.

Responding to genuine concerns of Ladakh’s civil society in climate change and ecological challenges, the Union Territory administration has introduced a slew of mitigation measures, such as introduction of e-buses. However, the civil society leadership has yet to come forward to mobilise the society in support of these changes.

The Ladakh administration recently introduced a fleet of e-buses as one of several measures towards making the Union Territory completely carbon neutral. However, the buses have hit the roadblock as strong and traditional passenger transport operators have raised issues and sought intervention of CEC LAHDC.

Watch | Helicopter Service, E-Vehicles and more of Ladakh: Saugat Biswas speaks

The e-buses to be run by SIDCO drivers have been put to a halt, at least till Monday, as ‘All Ladakh Transport Association’ has raised issue of routes and other clashes with the traditional passenger transport operators.

In similar back-to-back incidents on 18th May and 25th May, the bus drivers of SIDCO were assaulted. In the one of the incident that happened near Leh Gate, the mob asked SIDCO drivers to immediately cease its operations and threatened with greater future consequences. A complaint in this regard has been sent to the Police Station at Leh by assaulted bus driver.

However, the social media is abuzz with the demands that the celebrated activist and innovator, Sonum Wangchuk, who led a climate fast earlier this year, should come forward and campaign for the success of e-buses.

In the Month of August, Ladakh administration announces Ladakh’s Electric Vehicle and Allied Infrastructure Policy 2022 with maximum subsidy on the country.
The policy was aimed to transform Ladakh into a torchbearer in terms of the adoption of electric vehicles in the country and envisions to encourage and cultivate an EV ecosystem in the Union Territory.

Also read | No road taxes, less parking charges for Electric Vehicles in Ladakh

The policy was also aimed to will encourage the citizens to procure and use e-vehicles in order to create a carbon-neutral future for the UT.
The policy entails a capital subsidy of 10 per cent on two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers. To encourage sustainable and eco-friendly public transport, public buses will be
given a capital subsidy of 25 per cent under the policy.

The administration has also offered an early bird subsidy for the first year of the policy. During the first year, the percentage on the subsidy for respective type of vehicles would be double the normal subsidy being offered for subsequent years. In order to promote electric vehicle, the administration has decided to continue to exempt electric vehicles from road taxes.

For charging facility, the administration has offered to subsidise commercial public electric vehicle charging stations for two-wheelers, cars and buses. The policy underlines that the electric power required by commercial EV charging stations would be charged at domestic rates.

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