In what might prove to be a major step towards addressing the growing environmental woes, Visakhapatnam is likely to have air-conditioned electric buses added to its fleet of public transport, under the scheme of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) India Phase 2.
What is FAME scheme?
The FAME scheme aims at promoting of Electric Mobility in the country. The phase 2 of the scheme, which was recently approved by the Central Government, has a total budgetary outlay of Rs 10,000 crore over a period of three years, commencing from 1 April 2019. The scheme is an extended version of FAME India 1, which was launched in April 2015, with a budget of Rs 895 crore.
As the name suggests. the scheme promotes the faster adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles in India by providing incentives on the purchase of electric vehicles. Under the FAME scheme, the authorities would also establish the necessary charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
The eligibility criteria for the scheme include cities with one million-plus population (as per 2011 Census). Reportedly, the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and the Visakha region of Andhra Pradesh Road Trasport Corporation (APSRTC) have shown interest in purchasing electric buses for operation in the city, and have submitted Expression of Interest (EoI) to the Centre. Under the FAME scheme phase 2, a subsidy of 40% can be availed on the purchase of electric vehicles.
Apart from safeguarding the environment, the electric buses are also likely to economise the operational costs for APSRTC by an estimated sum of Rs 1.3 crore per month. Furthermore, the APSRTC officials have identified Maddilapalem bus depot, Pedda Waltair bus depot and the Simhapuri Layout (near Simhachalam) as the suitable spots for establishing charging stations.