The government will run the bio-gas bus on a pilot basis within a fortnight for three to six months, officials in the chief minister’s office (CMO) said here on Monday. The bus, which the officials claimed was the first Euro-VI complaint vehicle in the country, will start running after the gas dispensing unit for it is made ready.
“We were waiting for all the clearances, including that from PESO (Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation), for setting up the bio-gas unit. Without the bio-gas unit, it was not feasible to conduct the trial runs,” the officials said.
The biogas bus had its inaugural run on the Independence Day and was brought in along with two other eco-friendly buses that will run on ethanol on a pilot basis. The state transport corporation, KTC, had signed a memorandum of understanding the bus manufacturer, Scania, for three months.
The eco-friendly bus project is monitored by the CMO and is an attempt to bring in buses at par with international standards on Goa roads.
“We have not paid a single rupee for the buses and we have not earmarked any capex (capital expenditure) for it. We have signed the MoU only for a pilot run and once we collect data and analyse it, we will see whether these buses are feasible to be run on the state roads. Only then will we take a decision to float a request for proposal,” the officials said.
Currently, the buses are operated by Swedish bus maker Scania with no cost to the government. “Even the drivers have been employed by Scania, as they require special skillsets to drive them. The fuel will also be provided by the Swedish firm and they will do the maintenance of the buses. All we will be reimbursing them is the ticket charges collected, when the buses ply,” the officials said.
Initially, the biogas for the bus will be sourced from a Kolhapur firm. “The biogas for a Euro-VI compliant bus requires around 96% purity. Currently, only the Kolhapur firm is producing it. Scania has tied up with the firm and will source it from Kolhapur in the form of caskets and use it at the Porvorim dispensing unit,” the officials said.
They said the biogas produced currently at the Saligao solid waste management plant is not fit for the Euro-VI bus. “We will need to install a converter to attain the purity required and that would cost us around Rs 5-10 crore. But we are confident that the biogas generated from the Saligao plant alone will be enough to run 50 buses for 200km daily,” the officials said.
They also said if the trial runs are successful, the state government plans to sign a contract for 15 years and the only assurance that the government would give is a minimum of 200km run for each bus every day. “We will neither buy the buses nor maintain them,” they said.
The officials in the CMO also said the two ethanol-run buses have been lying idle for past few days as the MoU with Scania had lapsed. “KTCL delayed renewing the MoU. Now, that it has been renewed, we will start its operations,” they said.
The officials also dismissed that the air-condition unit of the buses were faulty. “It is a trial run and as such, we were taking feedback from the customers. Some of them complained that there was less cooling. It was adjusted accordingly. There was no AC issue with the buses,” they added. Read More
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