‘State open to investments in e-bus manufacturing, charging stations’

Kolkata: The state government is open to investments in lithium batteries, charging stations and e-bus manufacturing as they work on gradually shifting towards electric vehicles, Mayor Firhad Hakim said

on Tuesday.

While speaking to companies from the United Kingdom, he also expressed interest in hydrogen vehicles.

“Apart from Kolkata, we are also looking forward to other urban local bodies to make them pollution-free with sustainable development. For this, we have identified some specific sectors which are our prerogative and there is every opportunity of foreign investment,” he said.

Hakim further outlined a few sectors like development of inland water transport by focusing on e-ferry, modernised pontoon-cum-jetty and roro services as some of the areas for investment.

The British Deputy High Commission in Kolkata organised a session on “building a net zero future” in collaboration with the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. Around 11 UK-based companies focusing on areas like renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, waste and water management, net zero standards and air pollution attended the session.

The UK government released a roadmap for establishing an Intelligent Mobility Skill Centre, under the UK-India bilateral programme which is called ASPIRE, in the state. The announcement of the same was made in July this year. People will be trained across a number of areas, mainly catering to the EV ecosystem at the centre.

It will be run by the state government and if they want partners, they can invite other companies. The role of the UK government in this was to develop the roadmap which has identified the design of the skilling centre, which was released on Tuesday. The state government is discussing and a couple of locations are in their mind and where they want to do it is up to them depending on the infrastructure available, an official said.

They are trying to bring out the RFB and location will be decided hopefully before March of this financial year.

Meanwhile, under the same ASPIRE project, 50 women electric vehicle drivers will be trained by the NPTC Wales and Snap E, which is an electric taxi provider in the city. It’s a 90-hour course for women EV cab drivers. The driving dynamics, charging, maintenance of EV vehicles, operation and safety procedure will be taught to the selective batch of women. The training of the women drivers will start from next week.

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