BMTC to buy electric buses, cancels tender, loses subsidy

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) on Saturday at board meeting decided to cancel earlier tender to lease electric buses. The corporation will now float fresh tender to procure 80 electric buses costing around 1.5 to 2 crore each.

BMTC floated the tender in January last year to lease electric buses. The decision to procure electric buses comes at a time when the corporation was recently mulling to shut down some routes and increase bus fares in a bid to curb its losses.

According to reports BMTC will lose about Rs 74 crore subsidy from the Centre. The deadline for phase 1 of the FAME India scheme, initiated by the department of heavy industry (DHI) will expire on March 31.

BMTC received an ultimatum from the center to induct electric busses in the city by February 28, failing to which will miss out on the subsidy. The corporation initially proposed the idea of leasing electric buses owing to the low financial burden, however, Transport Minister DC Thamanna pushed for purchase, which led to a conflict within the organisation since November 2018.

TOI citing sources reports that the Centre is unlikely to extend the deadline as the second phase of FAME India will be launched in March-April.

Now when BMTC is cancelling the tender it is said that the project will now get delayed by another six months to a year.

BMTC chairman Haris said the decision to scrap the tender for lease was taken keeping in mind the interest of the employees.

He said, “Electric 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 Centre’s permission to use the subsidy allocated for the project.”

 “Purchasing electric buses is a more viable option than leasing out in the long run. We don’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,” he added.


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