In its quest to make Guwahati a smart city, the Guwahati Smart City Limited has taken a big stride by introducing 100 CNG-based city buses on the city roads courtesy the Guwahati Smart City Project. And people are already feeling the change.
Take the case of 36-year-old Md Pinku Ali. A city bus driver who has been covering the roads of Guwahati for eight years, Pinku has started feeling lighter about the bus that he is now driving because it is CNG-laden and because it pollutes less, a fact to which Pinku is not oblivious of.
“I had been noticing all along that my erstwhile diesel bus would emit a lot of smoke. I knew that it was not good for the environment, but I was helpless. Now, driving this bus from Khanapara to Adabari, I feel that it pollutes less, and it is comfortable,” he told this correspondent who undertook a journey in the bus to get a feel of things. “It consumes more fuel than diesel, but I think it is good for everybody,” he said.
Bandana Sharma, a passenger in the same bus was appreciative of the steps taken by the Transport Department and the GSCL. “This is my first ride on a CNG-driven bus. It is comfortable, and I am enjoying it. It is air conditioned. I do not mind paying more if need be,” she said.
The CNG-buses were flagged off by Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on the New Year Day in the presence of Transport Minister Parimal Suklabaidya; Housing Affairs and Urban Development Minister Ashok Singhal and Commerce and Industry Minister Bimal Bora, besides senior officials. On the same day, a CNG Depot, set up by Purva Bharti Gas in a petrol pump of oil retail giant Indian Oil Corporation near ISBT, was inaugurated by Dr. Sarma. Coincidentally, the Assam Chief Minister became the fleet’s first ticketed passenger as well.
“This is my first ride on a CNG-driven
bus. It is comfortable, and I am
enjoying it. It is air conditioned. I do
not mind paying more if need be”
– Bandana Sharma
Later tweeting from his account, Dr. Sarma termed the occasion as the beginning of a green era in Guwahati. “With introduction of clean & green energy in public transport, we’re moving closer to our goal of Net Zero Carbon Emission by 2070,” read the tweet.
Procured at a cost of ₹ 29 crore, these buses are aimed at reducing emission in the city whose air quality has deteriorated over time. “These luxurious and comfortable city service buses will also play a crucial role in shaping the habit of the people of Guwahati to opt for public transport services and stop the use of personal private vehicles for travel within the city limits. This, in turn, reduces carbon emissions and traffic congestion in the City,” said Rahul Das, Managing Director, Assam State Transport Corporation, which is managing the fleet of CNG buses, while talking to this correspondent over phone.
A decision to introduce CNG buses on the city roads was taken in a Cabinet meeting in August 2022.