Lack of Policy Delays Entry of Electric Vehicles in Assam

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Lack of Policy Delays Entry of Electric Vehicles in Assam

G Plus News | November 27, 2019 16:58 hrs

GUWAHATI: Assam government’s slogan of `pollution-free Assam’ looks like a hollow dream when you consider the fact that the policy makers have still not able to design a clear cut policy for the emission-free Electric Vehicle  (EV)industry.

This also at a time 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 in a snail’s pace on the EV sector.

“We are in the formulation process, various stakeholders were being discussed 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 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 will ply from Panbazar to Kamakhya Temple.

Moreover, in the absence of a clear cut policy and lack of EV charging stations it appears that it will take some more time for common public to reap the benefits of incentives offered by the government.

In many states registration fee of EV is nil or 50 per cent of the normal rate. In capital Delhi it is free, in some states parking is free.

In union budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced income tax rebates of up to Rs 1.5 lakh to customers on interest paid on loans to buy electric vehicles, with a total exemption benefit of  Rs 2.5 lakh over the entire loan period.

The minister also announced customs duty exemption on lithium-ion cells, which will help lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries in India as they are not produced locally. Makers of components such as solar electric charging infrastructure and lithium storage batteries and other components will be offered investment-linked income tax exemptions under Section 35 AD of the Income Tax Act, and other indirect tax benefits.

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 year back Patowary had said "additionally, this will also help improve Indias energy security by reducing the import dependency for energy."

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

According to studies held by several researchers of International Universities, finding states that adopting electric vehicles (EVs) could improve overall air quality and lower carbon emissions.

To quantify the differences between the two types of vehicles, the researchers used an emission remapping algorithm and air quality model simulations.

They used these methods to closely examine two pollutants related to automobiles and power emissions: ozone and particulate matter.

Both are main components of smog and can trigger a variety of health problems, such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Ozone levels decreased across the board in simulations of warmer weather months, researchers said.

In the wintertime, however, ozone levels increase slightly but are already much lower compared to summer due to a chemical reaction that occurs differently during times of lesser winter sunlight.

It is to be mentioned that here in Guwahati the air pollution is deteriorating with each passing day and the Air Quality Index (AQI) performs worst in the pick time during the weekdays.

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.

According to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) updated in September 2017, Guwahati stands in the “High” category with 85.6 Pollution Index on a scale of 100.

Although the Central Government has come up with several policies and schemes to boost the demand and manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs) Assam has only prepared the EV draft policy and has submitted the same to the central government. However, before going to the cabinet, claims and objections have to be taken from several departments after which, in the coming days, Assam will be able to present the policy soon in the cabinet.

Speaking to G Plus an official of a leading motor vehicle company said, “The state government has not finalised the policy of the registration of electric passenger vehicle.”

“The production of our electric vehicle is limited and the demand is coming more from the South and West side of India and other bigger cities like Delhi hence the market in Guwahati is very less but it will grow in days to come,” he added.

Further, he said that the state government has to fix up polices and should also promote the benefits of using an e-vehicle so that we can push to the dealers and customers. Although there are enquires about the electric vehicle in Guwahati but the customers are not that apprehensive about buying an electric vehicle.

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