February 26 : Process has been started for operating pollution free electric vehicles in Lumbini. A consulting company selected by The Lumbini Development Trust has already concluded a study in this regard and preparation is underway to announce tender for the procurement of such vehicles. It's been reported that a Bangladesh consulting company named SIMS Pvt. Ltd. is currently undergoing final phase of work to operate electric vehicles in Lumbini.
Preparation is underway to operate 50 electric buses and micro buses with the support of Asian Development Bank's Clean Energy Fund. The bank has also been preparing to operate electric vehicles in the Kathmandu valley as well, via the same fund. Some of such vehicles to be operated in Lumbini will be powered by solar energy. The Clean Energy Fund is to bear 51% of the total cost required for operating the vehicles, while the remaining amount will be invested by tourism and transportation entrepreneurs. Agreement with the private sector however is yet to be forged in this regard. The Fund has been insisting to get 51% shares in order to provide concession to elderly, students and ascetics as per its public welfare scheme.
Lumbini Development Trust's member secretary Ajit Man Tamang said that the construction of regional international airport in Bhairahawa was currently underway. He said that the number of tourists visiting Lumbini would automatically increase following the completion of the airport. He added the fund is planning for operating the electric vehicles from the proposed Bhairahawa International Airport to Lumbini keeping in mind the comfort of the tourists visiting Lumbini.
Lumbini Development Trust had sought loan from ADB for the operation of such pollution free vehicles across the Lumbini region. ADB later accepted the proposal in the support of the fund's welfare ambassador Nobuo Kasai. ADB will be providing NPR 300 million for the venture. The amount will be used to construction the electric vehicles' parking stations, charging stations along with their service stations. The Fund is also planning to completely ban all kinds of petroleum vehicles in Lumbini after the electric vehicles commence their services.