Millennium Post

Mitra slams Centre's electric vehicles directive, urges calibrated roll-out

Kolkata: State Finance minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday reacted sharply to the Centre's decision to roll-out electric vehicles without adequate preparations and thereby closing down the existing automobile industry in the country.

Mitra said that Niti Aayog called various automobile industries and asked them to submit a plan within two weeks on how the vehicles which run along the country's roads can be phased out. He also raised questions on the Centre's move to close down the petrol/diesel automobile sector within 2025, as many people will be rendered jobless.

"There has been investment of around Rs 1.7 lakh crore in the automobile sector and 3.7 crore people are directly or indirectly employed. How can the Centre move in a direction which will render a large number of people jobless? This is a huge blow to the automobile industry," Mitra said.

Raising question on the role of Niti Aayog, the Finance minister said: "It is a statutory body, a think tank. It has no financial power. How can the Niti Aayog issue a dictate on the automobile industry when it is booming? Where will the automobile industry go? GST meeting has been called on Thursday and it will be conducted from Delhi, where representatives from various states are likely to be participating in a video conference."

"Charging facilities should be set up across the length and breadth of the country before launching the electrical vehicles. Are there enough charging facilities in the country? Even the batteries are not produced in adequate amounts. The price of all the electrical vehicles will be extremely high. The automobile industry is launching the most advanced vehicles to reduce pollution. What's the point in closing down the industry when it is trying to check pollution?" he added.

It may be mentioned here that the GST meeting will be convened on the single agenda of electrical vehicles. The meeting of the Fitment Committee of officers was also held in a great hurry on this very agenda, alleged the state government.

The GST council has also talked about tax exemption for electric vehicles.

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