NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday announced formation of an empowered group of state transport ministers to advise on policy issues to make the country’s transport sector modern, efficient and transparent.
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari also asked state transport undertakings to convert their 17 lakh buses to Euro VI compliant, as stricter emission norms from April 2020 will come into force. “You have to convert your buses to Euro VI norms. There are 17 lakh buses operated by State Transport Corporations. These have to be upgraded through refurbishing or other means so that they become Euro VI or bio-fuel compliant. These can also be converted to electric buses,” said Gadkari.
He said several state transport corporations were incurring huge losses and the problem had to be addressed by developing an integrated approach for transport sector. The Minister announced that e-tolling would be introduced at toll plazas across the country and with this, vehicles would not be required to stop at toll plazas for payment of toll. “This will cut down the huge pile-up of vehicles at these plazas and also a lot of pollution,” he said.
India decided to leapfrog directly from Euro IV emission norms for petrol and diesel to Euro VI standards, and oil companies in the country will invest Rs 28,750 crore for the transition.
The Union Minister also suggested that State Transport Corporations slash ticket prices by 50 per cent, saying it would be profitable after the change in fuel, which is economical. He said most state road transport corporations buses were running into losses which amounted to Rs 10,000 crore.
“Government is ready to provide viability subsidy. There is a need to set up bus ports on the pattern of airports on the public-private-partnership mode,” he said.
India at present has about 1 lakh km of National Highways out of about 52 lakh km of road network and NHs alone account for 40 per cent of the total traffic.