Even after 3 years of “trying” to launch an electric bus service from Manali to Rohtang, based on National Green Tribunals’ order, HRTC’s dream of plying electric buses between Manali and Rohtang remains just that, a dream.
For starter, there are no funds to procure 25 buses at a cost of Rs. 2 crores per bus.
While HRTC has asked the surface transport ministry to fund the purchase, ministry, in turn, has neither turned down the proposal nor has it made available the funds to HRTC.
HRTC too hasn’t installed the charging station it requires to run these electric buses.
Just as well, since the Chinese bus company, BYD in collaboration with Hyderabad-based firm, Goldstone Infratech Ltd hasn’t provided any delivery timeline for the electric buses.
HRTC had awarded the contract to BYD and Goldstone Infratech Ltd after running a trial of their bus last year during off season.
In the meanwhile, tourists remain dependent on the taxi services offered by Kullu and Manali taxi union, which is strongly opposed to the idea of running electric buses between Manali and Rohtang, since it impacts their earnings.
The environment on the other hand, well, as usual, remains the lowest priority for pretty much all the stakeholders involved. Though thankfully due to bad weather, road till Rohtang hasn’t yet been opened to tourists.