To encourage the use of electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce air pollution, the Maharashtra government has formed a seven-member committee to decide policies for their purchase in various departments and for charging facilities. The committee will suggest steps to ban BS III standard and old vehicles in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and also recommend use of EVs for public transport.
The additional chief secretary (home department) heads the committee, which will also recommend amendments to the Maharashtra Electric Vehicles Policy, 2018. The government has said that EVs will be encouraged as 18 cities in Maharashtra are heavily polluted because of vehicular movement as per the findings of various studies of the Central Pollution Control Board. The government is of the view that EVs will help to curb vehicular pollution in a big way.
The government’s move comes days after the central government has announced a slew of steps to promote EVs, which include reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to 5% and allowing the delinking of the battery cost of 2 to 3 wheelers from the vehicle cost as it accounts for nearly 30% of the cost, amongst others. The government plans to set up at least one EV charging kiosk at around 69 thousand petrol pumps across the country to encourage people to opt for it.