Delhi government has given the go-ahead for the induction of 1,500 low-floor electric buses by the Delhi Transport Corporation with the corporation to add 450 CNG buses and taking its two-thirds of Delhi’s bus fleet will be all-electric by 2025,
This decision was taken as part of the cabinet meeting yesterday In a video message following the Cabinet meeting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said: “ From the past two-odd years, large-scale bus buying, particularly of electric buses and air-conditioned buses, has begun keeping in mind people’s comfort and Delhi weather. I am happy to announce that following a Cabinet meeting the decision to purchase 1,950 buses has been cleared. These buses will start plying from August-September and the full complement will be available by September 2023. Right now, there are 7,200 buses in Delhi; there will also be replacement of old buses. By December 2024, there will be 11,910 buses plying on Delhi roads."
India, with a grim scenario of a predominantly coal-based power generation, mass-scale operation of unorganised industries adhering to negligible levels of environmental norms, agricultural and automotive emissions, and a stark rich-to-poor divide, is also grappling with the issue of severe air quality in many of its cities across the vast landscape, putting the lives and health of its over 1.3 billion population at stake.
India was home to 11 of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia in 2021. Delhi saw a 14.6% increase in PM2.5 concentrations in 2021 with levels rising to 96.4 µg/m³ from 84 µg/m³ in 2020. No cities in India met the WHO air quality guideline of 5 µg/m³. In 2021, 48% of India's cities exceeded 50 µg/m³, or more than 10 times the WHO guideline.
In view of this grim situation, the Delhi government’s move to sizeably expand its electric and CNG bus parc is laudable. It may be recollected that the government has banned the entry of heavy goods vehicles from November 1, 2022.