KOCHI: With the push for electric and CNG-powered vehicles in Kerala Budget 2020-21 through subsidies and tax exemptions, a fundamental eco-friendly change is expected in the transport sector of Kerala. Along with the budgetary support, the state government has also decided to wrap up the tax relief given to new petrol and diesel autorickshaws in the past five years.
As Gail’s pipeline project is going to be commissioned in March, renewable energy firms in the state are aiming high. “A huge number of diesel/petrol autorickshaws were converted into CNG vehicles in the last two years along with the introduction to new fleets. The auto drivers are saving around `5,000 each in overall expenses per month. Taxi operators can reduce their fuel expense to `2 per kilometre if CNG is used vis a vis Rs 5-6 for petrol/diesel cars. Besides, the maintenance charge will also go down. With the new support, the trend will pick up momentum even further,” said Tony Mathew, general manager, Gas Authority of India Limited (Gail) Kerala.
According to the figures given by the firms in the sector, the daily consumption of CNG in the state has increased from 5,000 cubic metres to 33,000 cubic metres. The company expects this to reach one lakh cubic metres by the year-end.
E-vehicle manufacturers are also upbeat about the change and demanded the government to implement the announcements without delay. “Along with e-autos and e-taxis, e-motorcycles and e-cycles also have a great opportunity in plain terrains of the state,” said Midhun Das, area manager, Kinetic Green, which partners with KMRL and BPCL on e-autorickshaw projects.
However, many have pointed out that the state government should change the method of fixing the auto-taxi fares based on diesel/petrol. “Unless the government changes the existing method of fixing the fares, the commuters won’t benefit from the rate difference — the entire advantage will be limited to the drivers,” said an expert.
Subsidies for e-autos, electric/CNG transport buses and KSEB charging stations
Tax exemption for e-autorickshaws for the first five years
The existing rebate on the first five-year tax for new petrol and diesel autorickshaws will be done away with. The first five-year tax for these vehicles will be fixed at a one-time tax of Rs 2,500
The one-time tax for new e-cars, e-motorcycles, electric private service vehicles for personal use and electric three-wheelers will be limited to 5%
Special allocation for Silverline and Westcoast Canal