THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The e-mobility deal involving Swiss e-bus manufacturer HESS AG was planned by the end of 2018 itself. But it was delayed as the chief minister wanted further clarification, according to the documents accessed by TNIE. The transport department recommended the signing of the deal to manufacture 3000 e-buses at a cost of Rs 4,500 cr to Rs 6,000 cr during the electric vehicle workshop organised at Thiruvananthapuram on December 10, 2018.
But the note of recommendation by the Transport Secretary K R Jyothilal was redirected to Chief Secretary’s office on December 25, 2018, by the chief minister. The file noting will give further fire power to Opposition leaders who alleged that the then chief secretary and finance department were against the deal over its financial viability and a consultant was appointed to sort out the difference by paying a huge consultation fee.
Meanwhile Transport Secretary K R Jyothilal on Friday came out with a clarification that the government did not sign any deal with HESS AG. A draft memorandum of understanding was prepared by Kerala Automobiles Ltd and HESS on the sidelines of Evolve: Kerala Electric Mobility Expo and Conference held in Kochi on June 30, 2019.
Though the draft was handed over to the transport department, it is yet to sign it,” said Jyothilal. He said the company approached the government for investment (Swiss Challenge model) and a tender process was carried out on June 10, 2019. However no other firms came forward to participate in the tender, he said.