To give a boost to the road transport sector the state has allocated Rs 500 crore to procure 1,200 buses for various STUs to accelerate the transition to electrification.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai wants to convert all diesel buses in the state to electric by 2030. Presenting his 2023-2024 budget on February 17 – the state government rolled out major sops for the transport sector including higher allocation resources for state transport undertakings, roads and highways, airports, and pending rail projects – which got the top priority.
To give a boost to the road transport sector the state has allocated Rs 500 crore to procure 1,200 buses for various state transport undertakings to accelerate the transition to electrification.
The state government has plans to retrofit the old buses with new engines and tyres and replace all diesel buses with electric buses by 2030.
KSRTC has plans to induct 50 electric buses branded as ‘EV - Power Plus’ by the end of February 2023 with a plan of deploying them on inter-city routes such as Bengaluru to Mysuru, Madikeri, Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru.
The state government also plans to use Green Tax collected to add charging points in government offices and road transport corporations' depots, said Chief Minister Bommai presenting his last budget before the State Assembly election at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on February 17.
The state government has allocated Rs 85 crore for setting up automated six testing tracks in multiple places from Yelahanka to Chintamani areas in the state.
EV players welcome state governments' 500 cr allocation
The EV industry welcomed the state's Infra push with electric buses. Lauding the state government’s direction, Sumit Mittal, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance of Green Cell Mobility said, “Our company is looking to add more electric buses in the inter-city transport segment in the country. Karnataka's move to allocate Rs 500 crore to various state transport undertakings will give a boost to EV bus makers who have been under pressure from banks to raise money to scale up their operations citing poor financial health of transport corporations,” Mittal said.
Dr Amitabh Saran, Founder and CEO of Reliance-backed, Bengaluru-based electric three-wheeler maker AltiGreen appreciated the government's move to utilise the state's green tax collection for setting up common charging equipment for electric two and three-wheelers will help boost the EV ecosystem in the last mile.
He also said that with the government giving airports, railways, and road infrastructure its much-deserved push it will ease the transportation challenges and boost the economic growth for the state.
Roads, rail and infra push
The Karnataka state government has earmarked close to Rs 3,270 crore for building 948 km of state highways and 1,364 km of district and regional roads.
Sharing his budgetary estimates for the 2023-24 Bommai said “The state’s road expansion plans support the Centre’s expansion of national highways such as the Bengaluru-Chennai expressway costing Rs 5,486 crore. The State will also be developing the Bengaluru-Ramanagar- Mandya-Mysuru highway costing Rs 8,408 crore.”
Some of the other highways that the centre is developing with the state include the Surat Chennai expressway costing Rs 4,544 crore, the Hubballi-Dharwad six-lane project for Rs 1,200 crore, the Hubballi-Hosapete-Ballary-Andhra Pradesh Rs 2,200 crore border highway project, the 2,611 crore six lane Chitradurga-Davanagere-Haveri highway project including fresh approvals of Rs 4,128 crore Mysuru-Kushalanagara road four-lane work.
Rail and metros to ease traffic congestion
A high priority for CM Bommai was to reduce Bangalore’s traffic congestion. The State government has planned to invest over 1,800 crores including to reduce traffic congestion by “constructing a five-kilometre elevated road at a cost of Rs 350 crore from the Tin factory to Medahalli and the integrated flyover from Yeshwanthpur Railway Station to Mathikere and BEL Road and by providing direct access.”
The state will also develop 120 km arterial roads in Bengaluru at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore and 300 km of arterial and sub-arterial roads costing Rs 450 crore,” Karnataka’s Chief Minister added.
Bengaluru Metro Rail Scheme which is operational in a 56 km network will get another 40 km of metro lines under Phase II and will be made operational this year. In terms of Rail projects, the state will greenlight the 15,767 crore Bengaluru Suburban Railway Project at a cost of Rs.15,767 crore which was the long-standing demand of residents of Bengaluru.
Four new airports, two in the current year itself
Karnataka CM Bommai in his budget also gave the green signal to push the pending regional airports of Shivamogga, Vijayapura, Hassan, Raichur and Karwar districts with Shivamogga and Vijayapura airports getting priority for completion this year itself. Additional funds for the upgradation of the Myusru airport close to Rs 320 crore have got the state exchequer's nod.
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