October 14, 2019
Kolkata bags international C40 Award for electric transportation system
It was a proud moment for the city of Kolkata when its mayor (and the State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister) received the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Award in the ‘Green Mobility’ category in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 10 for the ‘Low Carbon Commute Transition’ project. It was the only South Asian city to receive this global award.
The West Bengal Transport Corporation is responsible for the implementation of this city-wide project, which consists of inducting 5,000 electric buses as well as fully electrifying the ferries that run across the Hooghly River by 2030 (that is, in the next 11 years). Through this environment-friendly project, Kolkata will become the first Indian megacity to transition its entire bus and ferry fleets to electric models.
When completed, the electrification of the public transport system would lead to the reduction of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by 7,83,000 tonnes per year. As of 2019, 80 electric buses have been introduced, with another 100 planned for by 2020. These 180 electric buses will lead to an annual reduction of 14,086 tonnes of CO₂ emissions.
The plan is also financially viable as, from a 10-year perspective, 125 kWh and 180 kWh battery buses are much cheaper to run, having only a third of the operational costs of a diesel bus.
This award, though is not the first feather in the cap for Kolkata at the C40 Cities Awards. In 2016, Kolkata Solid Waste Management Improvement Project (KSWMIP) had won the award in the ‘Solid Waste’ category; and so far, Kolkata has been the only Indian city to be awarded by C40 Cities.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress Government have always been at the forefront of setting new standards in environment-friendly approaches across Bangla. New Town is already being taken as a national model for a green city. Electric buses were earlier introduced in New Town and in the Asansol-Durgapur route. Buses running on biogas are also being experimented with.
In 2015, Kolkata became the first city in South Asia to become part of the worldwide network of cities called C40 which collectively work on addressing urban sustainability challenges.
Sources: c40.org, Cities 100 Report