BMTC to decide on procuring electrical buses in a week

After a series of delays, officials will decide on buying 300 electrical buses for Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) in a week's time.

Officials will scrutinise the financial bidding of the single company that qualified in technical rounds. In September, a joint procurement committee had invited tenders to procure 400 buses, including 50 vehicles each for KSRTC and NWKRTC. It kept October 30 as the deadline for submission of bids.

BMTC managing director C Shikha said they were studying the bids. "A decision will be made in the next few days," she said.

According to Central government rules, BMTC must draw the subsidy by December 15, but the corporation has secured a one-month extension to finalise the tender.

Asked whether the tender will be cancelled due to lack of competition, Shikha said the government has laid down strict rules for a scenario such as this. "It depends on the cost quoted by the company," she said. "We do have time to call a short-term tender.".

Under the Faster Adoption and Manufacture of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles scheme, the Centre is funding the procurement of e-buses under the gross cost model. The private company will get the subsidy to provide the buses and charge the BMTC a fixed amount per day. The company offering buses at the lowest charge will be selected.

"The private company will get Rs 55 lakh subsidy for large e-buses and about Rs 30-45 lakh for mini e-buses. In return, they will run the buses for the corporation at a subsidised rate," an official explained.

The subsidy amount is much lower to the Rs 80 lakh and Rs 60 lakh offered in the scheme's first version. However, the then transport minister D C Thammanna cancelled the tender process and decided to purchase the buses.

Sources said the previous tender enabled players to run the buses by charging Rs 37.50/km from BMTC. "The bids for the latest tender may see an increase in cost due to inflation and fall of rupee. In fact, it may cost double the amount of the previous tender,” a source said.

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