NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways led by Nitin Gadkari is in a fix. For the last three months, it has been searching for a fleet of 40 eco-friendly electric and hybrid cars to ferry its babus, but can’t find a contractor to provide them.
The idea was to lead by example and become the first government department to have electric and hybrid cars. Delhi’s rising pollution also made the transport ministry opt for eco-friendly cars. “We plan to hire electric and hybrid cars for our staff as an effort to contribute to clean air. The idea was to start it on pilot basis in the ministry and extend it to other departments,” said an official.
In June, the ministry invited tenders for the cars, but did not receive any. In August, the tender was floated again, but still hasn’t got a single response. According to the bid document, the cars must be air-conditioned, should be at least a 2015 make and be able to run 150 km at a stretch. None of the taxi firms have 40 such cars. While many vehicle manufacturers are launching eco-friendly cars in India, being a niche market at present, the numbers are limited. Hybrid cars available in India—Toyota Prius and Camry—are very expensive, and there is only one electric car, Mahindra Reva e2o.