October 20, 2023 [Hindustan Times]- Five hydrogen-fuel cell commercial buses shall soon start operating at a height of 11,500 feet in the eco-fragile Himalayan region of Ladakh in its endeavour towards carbon neutrality. The transport department plans to run these hydrogen fuel cell buses in Leh and its peripheral areas by March or April next year.
In a first such initiative in India, five hydrogen-fuel cell commercial buses shall soon start operating at a height of 11,500 feet in the eco-fragile Himalayan region of Ladakh in its endeavour towards carbon neutrality.
“Since Ladakh is striving to become a carbon-neutral region, NTPC under CSR is going to provide these buses to the Ladakh administration. Presently, the spade work is on at Changthang where a vast chunk of land is being utilized to raise requisite infrastructure for these buses,” said secretary, transport Amit Sharma.
Sharma informed that the transport department plans to run these hydrogen fuel cell buses in Leh and its peripheral areas by March or April next year.
“Presently, the trial runs are on. Initially, the buses that cost ₹2.50 crore each, shall be plied in Leh and its peripheral areas, by March or April next year. NTPC has already inked a memorandum of understanding with the Ladakh administration,” he said.
The NTPC, he informed, had conducted trial runs of these buses in August this year
He informed that NTPC under its social corporate responsibility scheme has procured the buses from automobile giant Ashok Leyland, a flagship company of Hinduja Group.
After Leh district, Kargil district with five such buses will be covered in the second phase.
“Since these buses get their energy from hydrogen, there will be no emission of harmful gases, except water vapours and warm air. They are more efficient than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and produce no harmful tailpipe emissions,” said Sharma.
“Hydrogen fuel cell buses in Ladakh would be first of its kind initiative in India. Since the Prime Minister has accorded top priority to make Ladakh a carbon neutral region, we are doing everything possible to achieve the objective,” he added.
Rigorous trials were conducted recently, and presently essential regulatory clearances are being obtained from concerned quarters, he informed.
The transport secretary also intended to phase out old conventional fuel operated vehicles in Ladakh under an incentivized scheme.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 74th Independence Day speech had said that efforts were being made to make Ladakh a carbon-neutral region.
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