Government fails to formulate electric vehicles guidelines

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 4, 2015-

The government’s plan to make environment-friendly vehicles a one-fifth part of the country’s total transportation system by 2020 hangs in limbo as it has not drafted guidelines for such vehicles yet.

The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport had formulated Environment-friendly Vehicle and Transport Policy in 2014 with plans to have 20 percent of vehicles in the country either electric or hybrid by the year 2020. Among other things, the transport policy has proposed setting up 10 electric charging stations around Kathmandu’s Ring Road, setting up battery-recycling centre, manufacturing plants for electric vehicles’ parts and products and developing infrastructure for bicycles, motorcycles,cars, taxis, micro and minibuses, trams, trolley and electric rails.

But no progress has been made towards formulating necessary guidelines let alone implementing the policy. “We have not prepared the guidelines yet but are planning to do soon,” Nabin Kumar Pokhrel, a director at the Department of Transport Management, said. “In the meanwhile, we have encouraged companies willing to provide electric public transportation service to come forward.”

According to data provided by the DoTM, there are close to 900,000 registered vehicles in the country. In Kathmandu Valley, there are around 200 routes for the public vehicles, of which around 25 routes are used by existing electric tempos and gas-powered micro and minibuses.

Meanwhile, MoPIT Joint-secretary Rabindranath Shrestha said the ministry is in final stages of drafting adequate guidelines for electric vehicles. “For the time being, we provide easy and quick permit to anyone who comes to register their electric vehicles,” said Shrestha, who also heads the ministry’s transportation division.

The Environment-friendly Vehicle and Transport Policy talks of building physical and technical infrastructures for encouraging the use environment-friendly vehicles. The policy envisions formation of a central Environment-friendly Vehicle and Transport Operation Committee to oversee the development of environment-friendly vehicles manufacturing industry in the country and local committees as per need. But the committees have not been formed yet.

The first electric vehicles in Nepal were the trolley buses gifted by China in 1975. Along with donating 22 trolleys, the Chinese government had developed all necessary infrastructures for the buses which operated from Tripureshwor in Kathmandu to Suryabinayak in Bhaktapur. However, the trolley bus service was discontinued in 2009 due to management problem.

Likewise, the government introduced the eco-friendly Safa tempos in 1999. But the battery-run Safa tempos are struggling to compete against fuel-run vehicles and facing a lack of adequate charging stations.

As a result of ongoing fuel crisis, bus stations such as Ratnapark, New Baneshor, Tripureshwor, Kalanki, Jamal, Swayambhu, Koteshwor, Satdobato and Chabahil remain crowded as people cannot board the few available buses. People are also compelled to travel on bus roofs due to the dearth of passenger vehicles.

Published: 04-11-2015 08:49

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