Meghalaya Pips Assam to 40 EV Charging Stations against Assam's Mere 20

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Meghalaya Pips Assam to 40 EV Charging Stations against Assam's Mere 20

G Plus News | January 04, 2020 15:10 hrs

Assam government’s slogan of “pollution-free Assam” looks like a hollow dream as the state gets only 20 charging stations under the FAME India scheme.

In the latest round of reports, Union Minister of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, said that the centre has given sanction for setting up 2,636 charging stations in 62 cities across 24 states and union territories under the FAME India scheme which will encourage original equipment manufacturers to launch new electric vehicle (EV) models.

Apart from rest of the states in India, under the second phase of the FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India) scheme, in the northeast India, Meghalaya is to get 40 charging stations, Sikkim will get 29 and only 20 stations would be set up in Assam.

"By installing all these charging stations, it is expected that at least one charging station will be available in most of the selected cities in a grid of 4 km x 4 km, which will boost the confidence of users of electric vehicles in terms of range anxiety and also this will encourage the OEMs to launch the new electric vehicle models which they were hesitant because of lack of charging infrastructure," Prakash Javadekar said.

It is to be mentioned that with only 20 charging stations in Assam it will be difficult to maintain a grid of 4 km x 4 km. Hence, the state government will fail to encourage the OEMs to launch the new electric vehicle models in the near future.

Managing Director of Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC), Anand Prakash Tiwari, in the conclave had said, "With CM Sonowal's vision of a pollution-free Assam, we are committed to provide emission-free public transport." The allocation of only 20 charging stations will be a distant dream for BJP-led Assam government to live up to being an emission-free state.

Meanwhile Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura did not get any charging stations under the Fame India Scheme.

The Centre received around 106 proposals from public/private entities for the deployment of about 7,000 EV charging stations. After evaluation of these proposals as per Expression of Interest (EoI), on the advice of Project Implementation and Sanctioning Committee (PISC), the government sanctioned 2,636 charging stations to 62 cities submitted by 19 public entities for 24 states.

Out of these 2,636 charging stations, 1,633 will be fast charging stations whereas the remaining 1,003 will be slow charging stations. About 14,000 chargers will be installed across the selected cities.

The limitation of the allotment may also be a reason as when various state governments are backing the development of electric vehicle (EV) industry to enjoy extensive fiscal benefits offered by the centre, Assam seems to be moving at a snail’s pace on the EV sector.

Sanction letters to the selected entities will be issued in phases after ensuring availability of land for charging stations, signing of necessary agreements/MoUs with concerned partner organisations like city municipal corporation/discoms/oil companies etc.

“We are in the formulation process, various stakeholders are being discussed with and they will send the policy to the cabinet for approval….no timeline for this has been fixed now,” Biswaranjan Samal, Principal Secretary, Transport Department had earlier told G Plus.

Notably, Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC), under the Centre's Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-1) scheme, procured 15 electric-run buses which were introduced as part of a pilot project and which are plying routes including from Panbazar to Kamakhya Temple.

Although the state government has mentioned earlier that dedicated charging stations will be installed with regard to the e-buses launched by the Assam government, the addition of 20 odd stations across Assam will dilute the opacity of the vision of Pollution-Free Assam. 

It may be mentioned here that Assam Industries and Commerce Minister, Chandra Mohan Patowary, had said electric vehicles should be adopted for the betterment of our future generation and to maintain the ecological balance.

Addressing the Assam Electric Mobility Conclave in 2018, Patowary had said, "Additionally, this will also help improve India’s energy security by reducing the import dependency for energy."

"Electric vehicles also adhere to the government’s slogan of pollution-free Assam," he had said.

On the other hand, experts in the recently held Northeast Electric Mobility Conclave in Guwahati revealed that Guwahati, with its increasing pollution levels escalated by vehicular emissions and with the setting up of new industries, will soon emulate New Delhi if some concrete steps are not taken to curb pollution levels.

Guwahati’s pollution scenario, escalated by the increasing numbers of vehicles and with the setting up of new industries, can soon compete with the Delhi’s air quality, said an environmental expert.

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