'E-Buses are profitable': KSRTC report disproves Transport Minister's claim

  • Nine-month profit reaches Rs 2.88 crore, undermining minister's position
  • Diesel buses cannot be purchased using the fund allocated for electric buses
KSRTC's electric bus. File Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The controversial argument of Transport Minister K B Ganesh Kumar, stating that electric buses are loss-making, has been deemed incorrect according to the annual report of the KSRTC. On average, e-buses generate a profit of Rs 8.21 per kilometre, and this figure increased to Rs 13.46 in July 2023, as per the annual report. The report also indicated a profit of Rs 2.88 crore between April and December 2023. Sources suggest that KSRTC’s Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Biju Prabhakar is likely to include this data in his report.

The minister sparked controversy upon assuming office by declaring that KSRTC would no longer purchase e-buses due to its alleged losses, opting for diesel buses for city circular service instead. However, the data reveals that this statement was made without a thorough examination of the buses’ operations. This argument has been rejected by the CPM as well as his predecessor, Antony Raju, who initiated the environmental-friendly project. Now, the minister may be compelled to reconsider his earlier decision.

Earlier, the CMD had written a letter demanding diesel buses instead of the 45 e-buses that KSRTC was supposed to receive under the Smart City and KIIFB projects. However, it is important to note that diesel buses cannot be purchased using KIIFB funds. The only viable options are to acquire e-buses or forfeit the funds.

Meanwhile, Kerala has not clarified its stance on the Pradhan Mantri eBus Seva Scheme, which involves 950 buses for the state. This initiative provides both the bus and its driver and conductor to the state, with the stipulation that the profit share should be remitted to the Centre. According to a report by KSRTC itself, the incorporation of these buses into the fleet could result in saving at least Rs 15 crore on fuel costs every month. Ganesh Kumar is yet to respond to the report.

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