Every bus to be inducted in the fleet of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will be an electric one, Maharashtra environment minister Aaditya Thackeray said on Monday and added the entire fleet of the BEST will comprise electric buses by 2028.
Thackeray, who is also the guardian minister of Mumbai suburban district, said double-decker buses operated by the BEST will run on either electrical energy or hydrogen fuel cells, whichever is more capable.
He was speaking as a chairperson in a function at the BMC headquarters, where the civic body signed a Memorandum of Understanding for three initiatives namely--- Women for Climate, Cities for Forests Campaign and e-Bus Mission, under the Mumbai Climate Change action plan.
"For building a progressive and eco-friendly Mumbai metropolis, rapid straps are being taken and the three MOUs signed today are important for it," he said.
Thackeray further said the BMC had already implemented various measures for the conservation and protection of the environment. "Sorting of wet-dry waste and planting of 2.5 lakh saplings under 'Mazi Vasundhara Abhiman' for urban forestry in the last one-and-a-half years is part of it," he added.
"Going beyond that, now for conservation of rainwater, housing societies, government office premises, and wherever possible drainage ditches should be dug," Thackeray said.
He said trees should be planted in the form of fences around transport islands, flyovers, and grounds.
"Climate change is intensifying and all countries are facing it. In such a situation, all political parties should come together and work together for sustainable development," he demanded.
Speaking on the occasion, Mumbai municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said the government has set a target of 15 per cent public transport based on electric vehicles by 2025, but going beyond that, the corporation has set a target of making 50 per cent of public transport based on electric vehicles by 2023.
Lokesh Chandra, general manager of BEST, said about 55 places have been selected in the metropolis to charge electric vehicles. "More charging stations will be set up there in the next 3 to 4 months through a public-private partnership. This will also enable the general public to charge their vehicles," he added.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, local MP Arvind Sawant and others attended the event.
Pednekar said the MOUs have brought together the public and private sectors and the agreement to increase women's participation in environmental protection will give more scope to women leadership.
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