KSRTC’s plan to procure biodiesel, e-buses in limbo – Times of India

BENGALURU: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation’s ambitious plan to convert its buses into environment-friendly biodiesel and electric vehicles remains on paper since many years.
This despite soaring diesel prices pushing up its operational costs. Every month, the transport utility consumes 1.5 crore litres of high-speed diesel, and being a bulk customer, price is revised every 15 days. From Rs 49.50 per litre in April 2020, it is around Rs 78.30 now.
In 2015, KSRTC launched buses using 20% blended biodiesel. In 2016, it became the country’s first transport corporation to introduce AC buses which ran 100% on biodiesel. KSRTC has 26 such AC buses now and 1,500 which operate on 20% blended biodiesel. In 2015, it decided to convert 8,000-odd buses from diesel to biodiesel to reduce pollution.
Officials said they had an agreement with a Hyderabad-based company to supply biodiesel, but it failed to provide adequate supply from December 2016. “We are yet to find a new firm to supply biodiesel despite floating tenders multiple times. Our biodiesel buses are now running on diesel,” said a KSRTC official.
Many private firms complain that a clause in the tender which states that biodiesel must be supplied at Rs 5 less than the price of diesel per litre is a reason for the poor response. “They should relax tender conditions since it is environmental friendly,” said another official.
In 2018-19, KSRTC had planned to lease 50 buses under the Centre’s Fame-II scheme. The e-buses were supposed to be deployed on inter-city routes such as Bengaluru to Mysuru, Madikeri, Davanagere, Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru. “We have asked the Centre to increase the subsidy amount from Rs 55 lakh to Rs 1 crore, but there has been no response so far. The bidder had quoted a high price in the previous tender so it is not feasible to operate buses at that rate,” said an official.

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