New Delhi, September 15: INSIGHT 2022 – a two-day international conference on Sustainable and Innovative Finance for Green and Healthy Transportation, organized by Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL), a subsidiary of state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), along with World Resources Institute India (WRI India) was inaugurated on September 15 formally in New Delhi by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Road, Transport and Highways.
Other dignitaries present at the inauguration were, Shri Kailash Gahlot, Minister, Transport and Environment, Government of Delhi NCT and Shri Amitabh Kant, Sherpa for India’s Presidency at G20.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Hon’ble Minister of Road, Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari said, “India is still a country that depends on public transport, both for intra-city travel and inter-city travel. Hence, it is imperative that India undergoes a quicker transition to e-vehicles for public mobility. I am pleased to see that some of the larger cities of the country have already initiated this process. However, this needs to be replicated in other cities as well. Our government is very keen to implement this at the earliest and we assure all support needed for this change. CESL has led this vision, under their Grand Challenge initiative, wherein 5450 e-buses have been deployed on the roads of 5 major cities of the country. I commend them for this initiative and look forward to them achieving their next target of running 50,000 electric buses across the country.”
The event also saw keynote addresses by Erik Solheim, Former Head of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Former Minister of International Development and Minister of Environment, Norway; Alok Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Power; Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Arun Goel, Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries. All Government officials assured full support of their respective ministries for seamless electrification of public transport.
Hon’ble Minister of Transport, Government of Delhi, Kailash Gahlot said, “Government of Delhi has been on the forefront of promoting e-mobility for public transport. It is a matter of pride for me to see as many as 250 e-buses plying on the city’s roads. Our e-bus fleet is now going to increase to 1500 e-buses which we are availing through the Grand Challenge and 6500 through the subsequent demand aggregated tenders by CESL. In addition, we are also working to increase charging infrastructure across the city for the convenience of public.”
Ms. Mahua Acharya, MD & CEO, Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) said, “We have achieved the first stage of success after putting 5450 e-buses across Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Surat under our flagship Grand Challenge initiative. The prices realized have been the lowest ever and have set the highest benchmark for public transport throughout the country. The rationale behind the move is not just about being environment friendly, but to understand the practicality of the ‘mobility-as-a-service’ business model. For us to replicate this success in additional cities, we need easy and cheap access to capital, which can only come from Central and State Governments. We look forward to continued support from them, for us to bringing e-buses to other cities as well.”
Dr. OP Agarwal, CEO, WRI India, added, “The success of the Grand Challenge initiative has fueled India’s pursuit for electrifying 50,000 electric buses. Now, the next goal is to find viable and sustainable financing avenues that can form a sturdy backbone for this massive transition. Coupled with user-centric planning for public transport, we can bring a transformational change in public bus services.”
Ankita Rajeshwari, WRI India