100 e-buses to start operations in Jammu from August this year

For first time, Gross Cost Contract model being adopted in J&K

*Tata Motors asked to ensure delivery of vehicles from June

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, May 20: One hundred e-buses will start operations in Jammu from August this year under Smart Urban e-Mobility Project of Jammu Smart City Limited as work is apace on the creation of necessary infrastructure and Tata Motors has been asked to start delivery of vehicles from mid June.
This is for the first time in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir that fully air-conditioned e-buses are going to be operated under Gross Cost Contract model, which has already been adopted in different metro cities of the country with high success rate and satisfactory performance.
The Gross Cost Contract model requires the operator to procure e-buses as well as implement the charging infrastructure, which saves cash-starved Transport Undertakings from making the initial capital investment. For its troubles, the operator is paid based on the number of kilometres the e-buses are operated.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that hundred fully air-conditioned e-buses will be operated from Jammu to Kathua, Jammu to Udhampur and Jammu to Katra and a bus depot is being constructed at Bhagwati Nagar Jammu. Moreover, Kathua administration has given land for the establishment of charging station for electric buses.
In Udhampur, land has been identified and formalities for transfer of same to Jammu Smart City Limited are going on. Likewise, Railways authorities have agreed to provide land within the Katra Railway Station for charging station.
Tata Motors, which has entered into Gross Cost Contract with Jammu Smart City Limited, has already been asked by Jammu Smart City Limited to ensure delivery of e-buses from mid-June so that other formalities like registration of vehicles with the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and issuance of permits are completed within the month of July in order to pave the way for operation of vehicles from August.
As per the details available with EXCELSIOR, the project will be in force for a period of 12 years from Commercial Operations Date (COD) and during this period the Service Provider (Tata Motors) will operate and maintain the e-buses on routes as directed by the authority adhering to its timetable on Gross Cost Contract basis.
Tata Motors will be responsible for Supply, Operation & Maintenance of 100 (25 buses having length of 12 meter and 75 vehicles having length of 9 meter) with an assured operation of 200 kilometres per day per bus. “All the tangible/non-tangible rewards of carbon credits earned from the electric vehicle ecosystem under this project, will be the exclusive property of the Government of J&K Union Territory”, sources said.
When contacted, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jammu Smart City Limited Rahul Yadav said, “this is for the first time that Gross Cost Contract is going to be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir. We will pass on entire Government of India subsidy on electric-vehicles to Tata Motors and they will charge us on per kilometer basis”.
In response to a question, he said, “it is difficult to figure out as to how much this model is going to benefit the Government financially but in rest of the country Gross Cost Contract has yielded positive results and vehicles are in operation under this model in different big cities of the country”, adding “the major aspect is that Government need not to make any investment for making 100 e-buses operational”.
It is pertinent to mention here that in the month of March this year Divisional Commissioner Jammu Ramesh Kumar reviewed the progress on the electric-buses project of Jammu Smart City Limited and directed that e-buses should be delivered by mid-April and operationalised at the earliest.
“Since this deadline is already over, it is expected that the fresh time-line of August for start of 100 e-buses in Jammu will not be missed by the authorities concerned”, sources said and stressed that Jammu Smart City Limited should be in constant touch with Tata Motors so that project becomes reality within stipulated time-frame.