Shimla, September 22: Himachal Pradesh on Thursday became the first state in the country to start electric bus service for the tourist spot. However, Himachal administration took this eco-friendly step with an aim to boost terrorism in the state and over the concerns of environmental degradation.
The electric bus service was flagged by State Transport Minister GS Bali along with Kullu Deputy Commissioner Yunus on Thursday for the first time from Manali to Rohtang Pass. There would be 10 buses in the fleet and Himachal also becomes the first one in the world to ply them at an altitude of 13,000 feet.
After inaugurating the electric bus service State Transport Minister GS Bali said, "Trials of these buses have been successfully conducted last year and the purchase orders will be placed within a week." However, the initiative is taken to curb carbon emission which is resulting in melting of glaciers in the Himalayas.
Earlier, the state government was forced to introduce zero-emission transportation facility in fragile areas after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) took a stringent step of imposing restrictions on the entry of vehicles to Rohtang Pass. The NGT had also shown concern over the melting of glaciers in the Rohtang Pass area as they were receding at an alarming rate of 19-20 meters per year.
Therefore, entry of vehicles was restricted to 1,000 vehicles per day, including both diesel and petrol vehicles. Interestingly, electric and CNG vehicles were exempted. Earlier, the government was planning to start CNG buses but was proving costly.