By Our Reporter
India has not yet started manufacturing electrcity buses. Only last year, the BYD company of China in a joint venture established a factory of electrcity buses in India. But Nepal has rejected five buses manufactured by the BYD company of China and sent by the Chinese company through the joint venture company of India.
This act of the governmnet has saddned the Chinese company.
All documents proving that the buses were manufactured in China are still safe in the Ministry of Tourism. But this incidnet showed how the government of Nepal tend to irk the Chinese company.
Chinese investors’ presence in the recently conculded Nepal Investment Summit was highly encouraging. But if Nepal does not correct its attitude, the Chinese company may quit their projects in the middle.
The injustice meted out by the governmnet of Nepal against the BYD company can discourgae the big Chinese investros. It is all because of the corrupt bureaucray in Nepal. And the CPN government has been unable to break the network of the corrupt employees.
Though some senior officials at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) earlier claimed that the BYD buses imported by the government were produced in India, multiple documents have shown that the country of origin of the vehicles is China.
The then secretary Krishna Devkota, who was recently transferred to Ministry of Youth from MoCTCA, claimed that he was transferred after he refused to approve a file which stated that the said buses were made in China. Due to the dispute, the five electric buses procured from BYD Auto Industry Company Ltd in China have been left unattended at a garage in Naxal after senior officials including Devkota showed reluctance to bring them into operation citing the buses were manufactured in India, instead of China as required by the tender document.
Similarly, a third-party inspection report of BYD buses has also concluded that the buses were manufactured in China. The inspection report prepared by India’s Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) on February 12 shared its observation that those buses were manufactured in China in line with the contract specification requirement in the tender document of the procurement and supply of electric buses.
BYD Auto Industry Company Ltd, the manufacturers of electric buses, had also sent clarification to the MoCTCA in August last year confirming that ‘all the buses are 100 percent BYD’s electric vehicle technologies, powered by BYD and warranted by BYD Auto Industry Company Ltd’.
The buses were procured by Lumbini Development Trust with the assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB) to ferry passengers from the under-construction Lumbini International Airport to Lumbini.
They were supposed to be operated by Sajha Yatayat until Lumbini International Airport comes into operation.
Two buses imported in the first lot were inaugurated on October 23, 2018 by Prime Minister KP Oli and other ministers, which had pleased the denizens.
With the row over the origin of the electric buses, the efforts of the ADB to free Lumbini listed in the World Heritage Site from pollution has flopped, thanks to the corrupt civil servants of Nepal.
With the increasing number of factories and industries around Lumbini, pollution has become a big problem there. There were news reports that the Ashoka Pillar itself is at risk due to growing pollution. And if measures were not taken to control pollution in Lumbini, the entire heritage site will be under threat.
Considering this, the ADB had signed an agreement to provide five electricity buses and 11 electricity cars to the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT).
Five buses had arrived in Kathmandu in August last year as per the agreement signed between the ministry and ADB on January 9, 2018.
When the PM inaugurated the buses, the people in Kathmandu thought they were soon be able to commute by the electricity buses. But the corrupt employees poured cold water on the hopes.
Surprisingly, the government itself had shown its concerns about the operation of the buses inaugurate by the Prime Minister.
The government has a plan to increase the number of electric vehicles to 20 per cent by 2020 and has exempted taxes in the import of electric vehicles. But no progress has been made towards this. Nepal imported petrol-operated vehicles worth Rs. 56 billion in the first seven months of this fiscal year hinting that the government is not interested to promote the use of electricity vehicles in Kathmandu.