Failed to provide even basic transport, Govt mulling electric buses in JK
Srinagar, Feb 15: The state government has decided to introduce electric buses to make the public transport system “advantageous” and “convenient”, evoking criticism from the people who take into account the Valley acute power crisis and existing weak transport system. Under the smart city project, the JK State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) would run 140 electric buses, assisted with eight charging stations, by June. The announcement to this effect was made recently by the Minister for Transport, Sunil Kumar Sharma. “The government was working to provide better transport facilities that will also include Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS), Ride Safe Application, and Web-Based Online Services. The new services will help in “ensuring road safety and regulating the traffic movement,” he said. However, the officials working on the project seem sceptical of the initiative, saying it would be another “futile exercise” in the city experiencing “major power crisis, crumbling road network, and inept traffic management system”. “Until we don’t address these problems, the project of electric bus service will be a non-starter,” an official said. The smart city project continues to be in rough weather, with the state government yet to receive funds from the Union Housing and Urban Development Ministry for the development of its twin cities—Jammu and Srinagar—as ‘Smart Cities’. As per the sources, firms haven’t been showing interest in the project. “The Project Management Consultancy responsible for designing, developing, managing and implementing is wary of taking up the project given the volatility of the place,” said an official. The public transport system also appears to be struggling to compete with the private operators. According to the annual data released by the Transport Department only 334 buses and mini-busses were registered in 2017 compared to 1.51 lakh private cars and motorcycles. The total number of vehicles on the Valley roads has swelled to 73,966, reveals the data.