Marching towards environmentally conscious means of commuting, Gujarat’s Kevadia is planning to make the city entirely run by electric vehicles. By Presha Mahajan
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India is pivoting towards the era of fully electric vehicles with Kevadia in Gujarat gearing up to become an Electric Vehicle (EV) Only city, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on World Environment Day. The Statue of Unity Area Development and Tourism Governance Authority (SOUADTGA) declared that this city—which also proudly houses the 182-metre tall Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Statue, also famously known as the Statue of Unity—will gradually be developed into an EV-only area, the first of its kind in the country.
E-rickshaws will be introduced, wherein the company managing the vehicles and drivers will be mandated to run at least 50 of them under the authority. Women and existing rickshaw drivers are going to be given preference to serve as drivers of the electric three-wheelers. Driving training will be provided free of cost to women at the Skill Development Center at Kevadia, where a charging station and maintenance workshop will be established as well. The company will also be responsible for developing an app, which will include tourist destinations in the area, their distance, and the fixed fares of rides.
The switch from fuel-based vehicles to battery-operated ones comes after PM Modi spoke at the release of ethanol blending road map (2020-25) during his speech. He said that Narmada district is being prepared with the necessary infrastructure to hold battery-based public transport like buses, and also private two and four-wheelers.
This e-vehicle project is an attempt to reduce pollution, with India serving as one of the global leaders inching towards tackling climate change. It comes in the backdrop of the world’s largest clean energy programme. The SOUADTGA committee, which manages tourism around the Statue of Unity, states that not only will the tourist buses run on battery, but local residents will also be empowered and assisted to convert diesel-run vehicles into electric three-wheelers. More so, incentives in the form of subsidies will be provided to them, too.
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The scheme’s benefits will also be extended to the employees and officers of the authorized committee. “The beneficiary officers/employees will have to pay the amount other than subsidy, and facilities will be provided to deduct the amount of loan from their salaries in easy instalments. Beneficiaries will have to guarantee that they will not operate petrol-diesel vehicles in the area,” reports Financial Express while referring to a statement by SOUADTGA.
Notably, no polluting industries exist at Kevadia. There are, in fact, two hydroelectric power plants that generate ample electricity without harming the environment. “Reserving the area only for electric vehicles will reduce air and noise pollution and add a feather to the charm of this unique tourist destination,” the statement mentioned.
Over the past few years, India has emerged as one of the top five countries in its application of renewable energy, setting an example to the world.
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