Despite Gadkari’s appeal, Scania not to run 25 Green Buses from today

Nagpur: Swedish bus maker Scania Commercial Vehicles India Private Ltd is not likely to run 25 Green Buses from Monday as per its termination notice issued to Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC). City MP and union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari had asked Scania to postpone the termination date to August 23, but there has not been any response.
In a meeting at NMC head office on Sunday, Gadkari asked CEO Torbjorn Glad of SST Sustainable Transport Solutions, a company floated by Scania to operate the Green Bus project, about the status of termination notice. NMC sources told TOI Glad said Scania’s board of directors directed him to continue with termination notice. “He said he would convey Gadkari’s suggestion to the board,” sources said.

Gadkari directed municipal commissioner Virendra Singh to send a letter to Scania immediately, requesting postponing the termination notice. Accordingly, city transport manager Shivaji Jagtap sent an email to Scania immediately.

NMC sources said no reply had been received from Scania board of directors by Sunday night. “Scania has already asked its drivers to go on paid leave from Monday. Scania has also asked its drivers to wait till further orders,” sources said.

NMC sources added Scania seems ready to continue the nation’s first eco-friendly city bus project if the civic body considers their demands. “Scania wants NMC to pay 18% GST. But NMC is firm on its decision that GST not applicable for city bus project,” the sources said.

Singh informed Gadkari that he ed GST commissioner of the city, who sent a letter to his head office at New Delhi for further opinion. “We will taken a decision after receiving opinion of GST headquarters,” he said in the meeting.

As reported by TOI on August 10, Scania’s reply clearly said it would not continue the project from midnight of August 12. But Scania also said, “However, this being a prestigious project for us also, we can discuss how best we can contribute to the transport system of this great city. But any such discussion shall be beyond the Green Bus agreement.”

Gadkari directed NMC and Red Bus operators to convert existing 400 standard and midi buses into CNG. “Expense on CNG is much less compared to diesel. This will save money,” he said.

Gadkari also directed NMC to release payments to Red Bus operators daily. “Do not hold the revenue earned from bus service. NMC should disburse payments to operators the next day itself. This will save operators from cheque bounce, allow procurement of fuel etc,” he said.

CP Tiwari of DIMTS presented a report to Gadkari informing him about viability gap fund being given by state governments to city buses across the nation. Gadkari assured to look into viability gap fund, as it may solve all issues and ensure smooth operation of city bus service.

Gadkari also asked NMC to prepare a proposal for development of bus ports on seven lands allotted to operators for depot and other purposes. “Bus ports with commercial shops etc can help in getting revenue and also give all facilities to operators,” he said.

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