In a major move that is likely to encourage promotion of electric vehicles (EVs), the Nepal government has come up with a proposal that makes it mandatory for high-level government officials to use electric vehicles.
Nepal’s Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has drafted a proposal that requires the public officials – joint secretaries and secretaries – must use only electric vehicles for their daily commute.
According to Mani Ram Bhusal, a joint secretary at the Transport Ministry, the recommendation for government officials to only use EVs has come from an internal committee of the ministry.
“The committee has proposed that at least top government officials should commute in the green vehicles, ” Bhusal, who is also a member of the five-member committee, said. “The proposal would soon be forwarded to the Transport Minister for approval.”
The move to introduce green vehicles for top government officials have been inspired by the annual expenses of transportation topics. According to Bhusal, the government spends around five to six billions on purchase of fossil fuel-run vehicles, their maintenance and over fuel.
“The government is spending a huge budget over these vehicles every year, ” said Bhusal. “Although the initial investment for buying EVs will be higher, expenses on fuel will be saved and maintenance will be cheaper. Most importantly, the message for the promotion of EVs will go out loud and clear.”
The proposal will have to be approved by the Cabinet before it goes into force next fiscal year. The proposal also makes it mandatory that if those government officials cannot use EVs, then they have to furnish a solid reason for not being able to commute in eco-friendly vehicles.
In 2017, Nepal’s National Planning Commission (NPC) became the first government agency in the country to purchase an electric vehicle (EV), as a part of a bid to replace the diesel and petrol-powered cars currently used by government agencies. Last year, the President’s Office also bought an EV, in a symbolic gesture for promotion of green vehicles in the country.
Promoters of the green vehicles also have applauded the proposal for it would contribute to the greater promotion of EVs across the country.
“We should welcome this type of action coming from the government, ” said Umesh Shrestha, president of Electric Vehicle Association of Nepal (EVAN). “This should be effectively mandatory for top government officials.”
Various policies and action plans of the government has prioritised the promotion of EVs in the country, however, progress has remained mostly stunted, mainly due to lack of infrastructure required to facilitate e-mobility in the country. Lack of charging stations remains one of the leading challenges behind sluggish popularity of EVs in the country.
EVs experts believe that government coming out to promote will contribute to expediting infrastructure required for the operation of these vehicles. Recently, Nepal Electricity Authority, the state power utility opened a global tender for setting up charging stations across the country.
According to Shrestha, such charging stations can be established at every 100km distance along the East-West Highway, whereas a charging station can be set up at a distance of 50km in the hilly region, making it accessible for the public.
“If government officials start using EVs, then there will be charging stations at vehicle parking stations as well. Even the public can use such charging stations by paying some amount, ” said Shrestha. “It will definitely accelerate the infrastructure development for EVs.” – The Kathmandu Post (Nepal)/ANN