Kathmandu, January 13
The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers has directed the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to formulate a policy to encourage the use of electric vehicles, including e-scooter, to combat air pollution.
According to the OPMCM, a meeting of stakeholder agencies and non-governmental organisations related to environment pollution took a decision to ask the MoPIT to come up with a clear policy on electric vehicles as soon as possible. Nepal still lacks policy to encourage and promote the use of emission-free vehicles.
A 2017 report published by the Ministry of Urban Development says electric vehicles and non-motorised transport can play an important role in reducing emission loads in cities like Kathmandu Valley where rising levels of pollution has become a major health concern.
Vehicular emission is the major cause of deteriorating air quality in the urban areas where it is much aggravated by substandard or adulterated fuel, narrow and poorly maintained streets, poor traffic management, old vehicles and poor vehicular maintenance.
According to Department of Environment figures, average PM10 is measured at over 190 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) in Valley due to vehicular emission.
The World Health Organisation considers air polluted and unsafe when average exposure to fine particulate matter exceeds 10 µg/m3. The air pollution levels in Kathmandu Valley exceeds the National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 120 µg/m3 prescribed by the government.
Meanwhile, Nepal Electricity Authority is taking the initiative to promote e-vehicles for management of surplus power.
The power utility has called a tender to instal charging stations in different places of major cities to encourage people to shift to electric vehicles.
According to the power utility, a charging station on the premises of NEA office will be installed shortly and the authority is also mulling over making electric vehicles mandatory for its top officials.
The government has also reduced customs tariff on the import of electric vehicles through the fiscal budget of 2016-17.
Customs tariff of big electric vehicles (bus, minibus) normally used as public transportation had been slashed to one per cent (of the total cost) from 30 per cent earlier.
Similarly, electric four-wheelers used for individual purpose like jeeps, cars and vans need to pay only 10 per cent customs tariff against 30 per cent in previous years.
A version of this article appears in print on January 14, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.