New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday asked Delhi’s AAP government to inform it about the details of its proposal to purchase 960 semi-low floor, fully electric buses, and sought to know the nature and quality of these buses, and the time required to set up charging stations for them.
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta also asked the Delhi government to also take into consideration the possibility of using hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses, which are cost-effective as compared to CNG or electric vehicles.
“These are the next generation buses. It is much more cost effective than the electric buses. The running cost is also less,” it said.
The bench asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to file affidavit within two weeks with the details sought by it and the number of buses required in Delhi.
It also sought reason from the government for the alleged non-utilisation of funds meant for public transport.
As per the Supreme Court’s 1998 order, Delhi should have a fleet of 10,000 buses for public transport but it has only 5,815 buses currently, the bench was told.
The Delhi government had earlier told the court that its Transport Minister decided to use part of Rs 999.25 crore collected as Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) for the benefit of public and purchasing fully electric buses would be beneficial in mitigating the pollution level and improve public transport in the city.
A total of 960 electric buses were required and each vehicle would cost around Rs 2.5 crore, the government said.
The apex court had earlier imposed ECC on commercial vehicles entering Delhi in addition to the toll tax.
The court was hearing a PIL filed in 1985 by environmentalist M.C. Mehta relating to issues of air pollution in the Delhi-National Capital Region.