The Statue of Unity Area Development and Tourism Governance Authority (SOUADTGA) announced that it will develop the “country’s first electric vehicles-only area” in Gujarat’s Kevadia. The official authority said that the area surrounding the 182-metre tall Statue of Unity in Kevadia in Gujarat’s tribal-dominated Narmada district will be converted into an electric-vehicles-only area. This process will be carried out in a phased manner.
This announcement came just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Kevadia, which houses the world’s tallest Statue of Unity, will become the country’s first electric vehicle city and necessary infrastructure is being made available to run only battery-based buses, two-wheeler, four- wheeler in the area.
In the area under the authority, only electric vehicles will be allowed to operate, with the buses made available for tourists also running on battery power instead of diesel. Whereas, a local resident of the area will be provided assistance to purchase a three-wheeled e-vehicle.
Apart from the assistance provided by Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA) – as announced by the state government – the SOUADTGA will also provide assistance in the form of subsidy to purchase such vehicles.
There is also good news for the officers and employees. The beneficiary officers/employees will have to pay the amount other than subsidy, and facilities will be provided to deduct the amount of loan from their salaries in easy instalments. Provided, the beneficiaries guarantee that they will not operate petrol-diesel vehicles in the area.
The company which is operating the e-rickshaw will have to run at least 50 rickshaws in the area under the authority initially. Here also, the preference in driver selection will be given to women residents of the area as well as the existing auto rickshaw drivers. Women drivers will be given free driving training at the Skill Development Center at Kevadia free of cost. A smart mobile app will need to be developed for this by the company. This app will have the details like various tourist destinations in the area, their distances, and fixed fares. Along with this, an E-vehicle maintenance workshop and charging station will also be set up in the area.