Bengal finance minister Chandrima Bhattacharya announced exemptions on registration fees and road tax for both electric and CNG vehicles for two years starting from the upcoming financial year.
The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) received a big boost in West Bengal when the state government announced that there will be no registration fee and road tax for vehicles powered by electricity and CNG for the next two years.
While presenting the state budget on Friday, Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya announced exemptions on registration fees and road tax for both electric and CNG vehicles for two years starting from the upcoming financial year. The exemptions are the biggest budgetary push for EVs rolled out till now since the EV Policy announced by the Centre last year.
The Centre has encouraged states to offer incentives to EV buyers to boost the use of cleaner technology in the transport sector. At present, Delhi, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha and Gujarat offer incentives to those buying EVs. Now, Bengal will also join the list.
The exemption on road tax and registration fees announced in the Bengal state budget will be applicable to both two-wheelers and passenger cars.
“We want to incentivise reduction in carbon footprint. To bring down dependence on petrol and diesel, I propose to exempt registration fee and road tax on all categories of CNG vehicles for the next two years,” Bhattacharya said.
The Bengal government’s decision to make electric and CNG vehicles cheaper in the state will encourage demand, said industry players.
Welcoming the move, clean air campaigner Somendra Mohan Ghosh told The Times of India that the city would be relieved of the massive pollution burden if more people replaced their petrol and diesel vehicles with ones running on cleaner fuels.
As part of its EV policy, Bengal plans to promote electric mobility between the cities of Kolkata, Asansol and Digha. The government plans to install rapid chargers every 25 km for electric buses and heavy-duty vehicles. By 2030, the state transport department aims to ply all public transport vehicles on electricity or CNG.
However, the government’s plans hit a road bump when it was unable to lay pipelines for the seamless supply of CNG from Haldia. State-owned GAIL was unable to lay any pipeline in seven districts of Bengal before entering the city. As a result, the Bengal Gas Company Limited (BGCL) has to supply CNG by road. This makes the supply of CNG limited and expensive.
Highlighting the gaps between the state’s budgetary push and ground realities, green crusader Subhas Datta told The Times of India: “The land hurdle has to be overcome without delay or the dream of clean air will remain unattainable.”