The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation board on Saturday decided to cancel the tender issued in January 2018 to lease 80 electric buses from a private vendor and effectively lost Rs 75 crore in subsidies from the Centre. This at a time when the state government-owned corporation was recently mulling to shut down some routes and increase bus fares to curb its losses.
TNM has earlier reported how Saturdayâ€™s meeting held the answer if the transport body was it miss the subsidy was promised as part of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles scheme by the Union Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, with the deadline being March 31.
While the BMTC had initially mooted the idea of leasing electric buses owing to the low financial burden, Transport Minister DC Thamanna pushed for purchase, which led to a conflict within the organisation since November 2018. Meanwhile, the Managing Director under whom BMTC had finalised a leased deal with a Hyderabad-based company through a tendering process was also transferred.
Three-time Congress MLA NA Haris who was appointed as the chairman of BMTC recently, however, said the decision to scrap the tender for lease was taken keeping in mind the interest of the employees.
He said, â€śE-bus technology is evolving day by day. At the earliest, the BMTC will float a global tender to procure buses. Initially, the BMTC will induct 80 buses and the number will be increased in a phased manner. We will also take the Centreâ€™s permission to use the subsidy allocated for the project.â€ť
He added, â€śPurchasing electric buses is a more viable option than leasing out in the long run. We donâ€™t want to go with the lease model because we want to outright purchase buses. We have a work force of about 34,000 people and we have to look at their future too. With these 80 electric buses, we could start training our staff.â€ť