Tue, 7 June 2022
By Laxman Poudel Bhairahawa Rising Nepal
June 7: Electric vehicles left unused for months in Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, will be brought into operation after two months. The Lumbini Development Trust is preparing to operate electric vehicles.
A meeting of the Trust held in Kathmandu has decided to bring the stalled electric vehicles into operation, said Sanuraja Shakya, member secretary of the Trust.
The meeting of the Trust has also formed a three-member task force to formulate the working procedures. Bishwo Raj Poudel and Rajesh Shakya are members of the task force formed under the chairmanship of Treasurer Dhundiraj Bhattarai.
A year and a half ago, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had provided five electric buses and 14 electric taxis to Lumbini to make it pollution-free. Buses and taxis had been brought for Rs. 130 million under the ADB’s Clean Energy Project. The government had imposed Rs. 35 million customs duty on these vehicles.
According to Shakya, these vehicles will make it easier for tourists to visit Lumbini and the Buddha Circuit area. The Trust has also built a charging station to operate the vehicles. But due to lack of procedures, electric vehicles have remained unused for a long time.
Although ADB had sent the vehicles in the name of the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, and Culture, the ministry has not yet handed them over to the Trust.
Shakya said that the vehicles would be brought in the name of the Trust before the formulation of the action plan.
The Trust will not be able to operate the vehicles itself. "We will formulate the action plan by giving the authority to operate the vehicles to the private sector."
The 19-seat capacity buses are of international standard and equipped with an automatic card payment system. It is said that these buses can travel up to 400 kilometres once fully charged.
The meeting also decided to waive the charge of the contractor inside Lumbini with the closure of Maya Devi Temple during the COVID-19 pandemic as soon as the Gautam Buddha International Airport came into operation.
Similarly, the Department of Archeology has decided to carry out the excavation on the basis of the archeological excavation
criteria 2065 prepared and passed by the Department of Archeology as some provisions of the Public Procurement Act have not been implemented in practice for the regular and systematic excavation work.
The meeting also decided to hold the International Buddhist Conference in November and December, according to Shakya.