West Bengal shifts to exclusive electric vehicles

01 Sep 2023

The West Bengal government has made a decision to combat increasing pollution levels in the state caused by automobile fuel emissions. They have opted to exclusively use electric vehicles for all administrative purposes. A notification from the state Transport Department has confirmed that even rented vehicles for administrative use must be electric.

The department has also estimated the expenses associated with this transition. For the initial 100 kilometres, the state government will cover a monthly cost of Rs 46,000 as rent to the private agencies providing the cars. Beyond 100 kilometres, the rate will be Rs 8 for each additional kilometre. In the event of emergencies, the administration will have the option to rent petrol or diesel vehicles, but prior approval from the state Finance Department will be mandatory.

A senior Finance Department official expressed, "The shift to this new system will inevitably entail additional expenses and thus put more strain on the state treasury. Nevertheless, it is essential to curb the escalating air pollution stemming from automobile fuel emissions, particularly those from diesel vehicles." Environmental activists in the state have welcomed this decision, viewing it as a positive step in the right direction. Conversely, associations representing private transport owners, while acknowledging the initiative's merits, express skepticism about its long-term success without the establishment of a suitable infrastructure.

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