As stated by the plan of action, Trichy, Madurai and Coimbatore were assumed to get 100 buses and 50 vehicles each were for the smaller cities like Salem, Tirupur, Erode and Vellore. Under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) II in India scheme, Thanjavur had been sanctioned 25 buses.
525 electric buses that were planned to be procured by the Tamil Nadu Government has been halted. Ashok Leyland’s two of the first e-buses that were being operated on a trial basis since 2019 in Chennai, has been called off without any prior notification. The cost of the two fully air-conditioned e-buses was around 1.5 crores each. The bus services had been stopped a month before the lockdown. However, among the two, one had a run from Thiruvanmiyur to Central Railway Station and the other from Koyambedu to Broadway before being grounded. There were no comments stated by the company Ashok Leyland when questioned about why the trial had stopped and whether they had shared a report with MTC. MTC was not aware of the project result as sources said.
There was a sanctioned obtainment of the 525 e-buses by the Union Heavy Industry Ministry on August last year. As stated by the plan of action, Trichy, Madurai and Coimbatore were assumed to get 100 buses and 50 vehicles each were for the smaller cities like Salem, Tirupur, Erode and Vellore. Under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) II in India scheme, Thanjavur had been sanctioned 25 buses.
A Gross Cost Contract (GCC) was mandated in the scheme guidelines between the state transport corporations and a successful bidder. The Private bidder will have to own and maintain the buses as there will be no outright purchase. There was strong opposition from the transport workers union as the GCC had not proposed in its scheme the deployment of government bus drivers and the union saw this as a step moving towards the privatisation of the bus transportation system in the state.
“There was no need for unions to fear as Telangana has implemented the GCC model for procuring 40 buses and maximised profit by operating them along airport routes. Drivers were trained on not only bus operation but also charging technology. Ridership too increased steadily. This was a better way to maximise profit and reduce pollution.” says the Transport activist R. Rengachari. As the argument goes on the Tamil Nadu Transport Minister M R Vijayabaskar has said that the procurement of BS-VI vehicles for the city will continue and though the funds through Fame-II got delayed because of covid still the e-bus scheme won’t be called off.