Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu who presented the first of its kind ‘Green Budget’ in Vidhan Sabha today ensured to balance the economy with environmental profits and has proposed Rs. 1000 crore for replacing the existing fuel buses with e-buses. Himachal will be a Model State for electric vehicles, he said. Apart from this, the Chief Minister announced 50 percent subsidy, up to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh for private bus operators to purchase e-buses and the same amount of subsidy for the purchase of e-trucks as a first move towards the Green Energy State. Similarly, the Chief Minister also announced providing subsidy of Rs. 25,000 each for electric scooters to 20000 meritorious girl students of 18 years and above. He also announced a subsidy of 50 percent to be given to willing private investors for setting up the electric charging stations in the state. To maintain viability, the subsidy can be increased later.
He said permits would be given to the youth for plying e-buses on various routes in the State. The Chief Minister also announced an e-bus depot at Nadaun and said that the Shimla bus stand will be converted to an e-depot as well. The State government proposed to develop ‘Green Corridors’ for electric vehicles on National and State Highways in the State, which include Parwanoo-Nalagarh-Una-Hamirpur-Dehra-Amb-Mubrakpur-Sansarpur Terrace-Nurpur Highway, Paonta-Nahan-Solan-Shimla, Parwanoo-Solan-Shimla-Rampur-Peo-Pooh-Kaza-Taboo-Losar highway, Shimla-Bilaspur-Hamirpur-Kangra-Nurpur-Banikhet-Chamba, Mandi-Jogindernagar-Palampur-Dharamshala-Kangra-Pathankot highway and Kiratpur-Bilaspur-Mandi-Kullu-Manali-Keylong-Zing-Zingbar at foothills of Baralacha-La. He said that a push for greener initiatives was noteworthy for their fuel efficiency and EVs can be a cost-effective way to reduce operating expenses, lower fuel costs, and can serve as a greener alternative to gas, petrol or diesel vehicles thereby eliminating carbon emissions.
Keeping in mind the negative impact of the transport sector on the environment besides the long run impact of greenhouse gases and rising fuel prices, the Green Budget of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu can be rightly judged as a vision possible for making the State a ‘Green Energy State”. Apart from this the State is all set to go ahead in line with the National Green Hydrogen Energy Mission in a big way apart from the production. The State is also contemplating to rope-in JICA to set up ‘Green Hydrogen Plants’ for Electric vehicles, which will go a long way to achieve the goal of this ambitious project. In a bid towards ‘Green and Clean Himachal’ the Chief Minister proposed setting up various solar projects in the State in PPP mode which besides providing clean power to consumers at cheaper rates, will help in reducing carbon footprints.
He also announced that two Panchayats in each district of the State will be developed as Green Panchayats by setting up Solar ranging from 500 KW to 1 MW capacity in these Panchayats on a pilot basis. The youth of the State will also be given 40 percent subsidy to set up solar power projects ranging from 250 KW to 2 MW on their own or leased land. This will also provide us with greater electricity grid security, especially in terms of natural or human-caused disasters. With the help of solar panel grants, one can also be paid to export electricity back to the grid, thereby adding to zero electric bills vis-a-vis direct income to the consumers. The State Government will also invest in solar plants and will install 500 MW solar projects during the year 2023-24.