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Gujarat's Statue of Unity is set to become the country's first all-electric car zone. Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned ambitions to create Kevadiya into an electric car metropolis during his World Environment Day address on Saturday.
The drive for EVs comes against the backdrop of the government's Rs 18,100 crore production linked incentive (PLI) plan for lithium-ion cell manufacturing, with the aim of attracting Rs 45,000 crore in investment. India is leading the world's largest renewable energy programme and is vying for a leadership role in addressing climate change on a global scale.
According to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office, "he stated the essential infrastructure is being developed to ensure that exclusively battery-powered buses, two-wheelers, and four-wheelers would operate in Kevadiya in the future."
This comes as the Centre has asked all states and union territories (UTs) to choose one city from a national list of 60 that may be entirely powered by rooftop solar. PM Modi had previously urged for each state to establish at least one such'solar city' at a review of the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) in May last year.
Gujarat's Statue of Unity region is on track to become the country's first zero-emission zone. A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the initiative, the Statue of Unity Area Development and Tourism Governance Authority (SOUADTGA) stated that it will transform the area in Gujarat's Kevadia into a vehicle-free zone.
The authorities said on Sunday that the area surrounding the 182-metre-tall Statue of Unity in Kevadia will gradually be converted into an electric-vehicle-only zone. "Only electric cars will be permitted to operate inside the authority's boundaries, with tourist buses also running on battery power rather than diesel," it stated.
Modi stated on Saturday that preparations are being done to transition Kevadia to solely battery-powered buses, two- and four-wheelers in the future. However, Prime Minister Modi has already determined in 2019 to prioritise electric vehicles just in Kevadia.
Local residents living near the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue would receive aid to purchase electric three-wheelers, according to the plan. The SOUADTGA also stated that it will give subsidies for electric car purchases.
"Beneficiary officers/employees will be required to pay any sum not covered by the subsidy, and the loan would be deducted in manageable instalments from their wages. Beneficiaries must ensure that they will not run gasoline-powered or diesel-powered cars in the region "SOUADTGA made the statement.
According to the agency, at least 50 e-rickshaws would initially be permitted to operate under the authority's jurisdiction. Women will be given precedence when it comes to driving these e-rickshaws. Women drivers will receive complimentary training at Kevadia's Skill Development Center. Additionally, a separate workshop and charging station will be established in the region.
Additionally, the agency has requested that the business managing the area's e-rickshaws produce a smart mobile app that will include information on the fares for these e-vehicles as well as other tourist sites.
"It should be noted that Kevadia has no polluting businesses and two hydroelectric power plants that provide abundant environmentally beneficial electricity. Reserving the space exclusively for electric cars will help to minimise air and noise pollution, while also adding to the allure of this one-of-a-kind tourist attraction "SOUADTGA said the statement.
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