The Asian Development Bank has given in-principle approval for a $400-million loan to Maharashtra government to bring in 5,000 electric buses, the State’s Principal Secretary (Transport & Ports), Parrag Jaiin-Nainutia, said here today.

He was participating in a discussion at the India pavilion at the COP27 international climate conference on decarbonising India’s transport sector using e-mobility.

CESL model

The State will soon come out with a tender for the 5,000 buses, Jaiin-Nainutia told businessline, later. Maharashtra would follow the same model as the public sector, CESL (Convergence Energy Services Ltd), did for the recently-concluded tender for procuring 5,450 e-buses. Under this model, bidders offer a per-km price for running buses on routes specified by the state transport service — the best price gets the contract. The buses would be run by the winning bidder’s drivers, but the ticketing and collection would be done by the transport undertaking.

CESL aggregated demand from five States and ran a single tender on behalf of them, due to which a bulk order for 5,450 buses was possible. This resulted in a lower per-km cost of ₹39–45 a km, depending upon the type of the bus; this contrasts with ₹85-90 a km that a diesel bus costs to run.

Bulk order

Maharashtra would follow the same model, only it wouldn’t have to do any demand aggregation because it would place a bulk order by itself.

Asked what the State would do with the drivers who would not be needed anymore, Jaiin-Nainutia said that the natural process of superannuation of drivers would take care of the problem.

He said that the ADB loan would need to be routed through the Centre, which might cause some delay, but said he was confident of securing the loan.