The launch of 100 electric buses by the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, marks a big move towards transforming the transportation in the valley. This initiative will contribute to eco-friendly mobility and also to a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Srinagar in recent years has long grappled with the dual challenges of rising car ownership and worsening traffic congestion. The proliferation of cars and inadequate public transport infrastructure has given rise to gridlocks on its narrow roads. The data on car ownership in Jammu and Kashmir issued last year, found that Jammu and Kashmir is one of the regions in India with a substantially higher ownership of cars. Others are Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, including the union territory of Ladakh and a few other North Eastern states. While surprising, the data offers valuable insights into the complex relationship between prosperity, transportation, and environmental concerns. The rise in car ownership in the region has contributed to the growing problem of traffic congestion and air pollution.
What is more, according to a 2016 study, Srinagar was declared the 10th most-polluted city in the world by the World Health Organization. Similarly, a 2018 study titled “Winter Burst of Pristine Kashmir Valley Air” jointly conducted by a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the University of Kashmir, showed that pollution in Srinagar hits dangerous levels during winter months as the air carries five times more tiny particulate matter 2.5 than the permissible limit.
So the introduction of electric buses represents a step towards cleaner and more sustainable mobility. The Srinagar Electric Bus Project not only aims to address traffic congestion but also aligns with the broader goal of carbon neutrality. The buses, equipped with features like universal access, onboard vehicle tracking systems, and CCTV cameras, are not only environmentally friendly but also technologically advanced. They provide a dedicated mobile app for passengers to book tickets, fostering convenience and enhancing the overall commuting experience. But the biggest benefit is for the environment. By prioritizing eco-friendly mobility solutions, the region can alleviate the burden of traffic congestion and safeguard its environment. By replacing traditional, fossil fuel-powered buses with electric counterparts, this initiative will significantly reduce harmful emissions, such as carbon dioxide and particulate matter, which have been a growing concern for the city and the wider valley.
But for these buses to ply smoothly across the city, it is important that not only the road length is increased but that the roads are also widened. It is obvious that the city’s road length is not commensurate with the exponential growth in traffic volume.
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