Pondicherry News

Puducherry requests funding from the centre to replace 15-year-old buses.

PUDUCHERRY: The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has been urged by Puducherry’s transport minister Chandira Priyanga to provide funds for the union territory under the vehicle fleet modernization programme in order to replace the 15-year-old buses owned by the Puducherry Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) and to extend the vehicle scrapping policy for public buses by one year.

She said that while MoRTH has allocated Rs 2,000 crore for vehicle fleet modernization, no fund has been allocated for the replacement of old vehicles in UTs, speaking on Monday at a meeting of transport ministers from states and UTs in New Delhi, which was presided over by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.

The 175 stage carriage buses in PRTC’s fleet have an average age of over 15 years, or 90% of them. The movement between states will suffer if these cars are scrapped, which will cost a lot of money.

The minister also requested funding to start up road safety initiatives like upgrading intersections and buying weigh-in-motion equipment, among other things. Typically, projects are funded by the money made from adding together crimes and fines for rule breakers. She claimed that larger initiatives wouldn’t be possible with these modest budget.

She also advised changing the All India Tourist Vehicles (Authorisation or Permit) Rules, 2021 to allow permit holders to select the states in which they operate and to divide the money only among those states and/or UTs. With this, operations will run more smoothly and the problem of Puducherry obtaining a less income share than the prior tourist vehicle permits would be resolved.

She urged the ministry to include Puducherry under the FAME 2 programme as a special instance, claiming that the state transport company is suffering from a severe financial crisis. Under this programme, electric bus purchases in cities with a population of more than four million people are subsidised. Electric buses are already being added to Puducherry’s PRTC system. 25 electric buses are currently being purchased, and by the end of this month, the UT will also release a policy regarding electric vehicles.