By Kumar Vikram
New Delhi, Mar 26 (IANS): Electric vehicle charging stations sanctioned under phase I of the FAME India Scheme were much cheaper with an average cost of Rs 8.27 lakh per station than the charging stations sanctioned under phase II of the FAME India scheme, which has an average cost of Rs 22.45 lakh per station.
The fact came out in a recent report of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates. The Panel in its report ‘Evaluation of EV Policy' recommended that the Government should conduct an audit to avoid any inefficient use of funds.
The Committee noted that the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) had sanctioned 520 Charging Stations and Infrastructure for Rs 43 Crore (approx.) Under Phase-I of FAME-India Scheme launched in 2015 and under phase-II of FAME-India Scheme launched in 2019, Rs 1000 Crore has been allocated for supporting charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in the country.
As per the report, MHI sanctioned 2,877 electric vehicle charging stations in 68 cities and 1576 charging stations across 9 Expressways and 16 Highways under phase-II of FAME India Scheme.
The report pointed out significant cost escalation on charging stations under the two phases of the FAME scheme. "The Committee are concerned to note that charging stations sanctioned under phase I of FAME India Scheme were much cheaper with an average cost of Rs 8.27 lakh per station than the charging stations sanctioned under phase II of FAME India scheme, which has an average cost of Rs 22.45 lakh per station," said the report.
The Committee in its report has said that it would like to know the reasons for such cost escalation of charging stations under Phase-II of FAME India Scheme and also recommend that the Government should conduct an audit to avoid any inefficient use of funds. The Committee would like to be apprised of the action taken in this regard, the report said.
The report also noted the slow progress with regard to charging station infrastructure. "The Committee regret to note that only 479 charging stations out of 520 charging stations sanctioned under FAME phase I and merely 50 out of 2877 charging stations sanctioned under FAME phase II could be installed till December 2022," said the report.
As per the Ministry of Power guidelines, there shall be at least one charging station at every 25 kms on both sides of the Highway and also at least one Charging Station for Long Range/Heavy Duty EVs at every 100 kms on both sides of the Highway.
At present, the number of EV charging stations sanctioned under FAME is very meagre as India has about 63.73 lakh km of road network, which is the second largest in the world. The Committee is of the view that the reason for slow pace of installation of the sanctioned charging stations under FAME should be examined.
The Parliamentary panel has noted that as more and more EVs show up on the road, frequently placed smart charging stations would make movement for long distance smoother and faster. Hence existing highways or expressways would be ultimately required to become e-highways. The Committee recommended that MHI should coordinate with other Ministries and charging infrastructure operators to frame a comprehensive plan for rollout of a nationwide public charging network.