Cheapest Bus in India fuelled by cow dung biogas launched in Kolkata, Passengers can travel 17km for Re 1 

The biogas that will be used to run the bus is produced at a plant in Bengal’s Birbhum district and will be transported to Kolkata in tankers.

Kolkata, April 01: Now the people of Kolkata can travel in a bus by paying just Re 1. Thanks, to a 55-seat bus powered by biogas, sourced from cow dung, was launched here on Friday.

The operators of the bus claim it is India’s first such bus service. A nominal fare of Re 1 will be charged from each passenger.

The bus, to run on the 17.5 km Ultadanga-Garia stretch, will be one of the fleets of 16 buses to be deployed in Kolkata and surrounding areas. “The bus gives a mileage of six km for one kg biogas that costs Rs 20,” Jyoti Prakash Das, Chairman and Managing Director of Phoenix India Research and Development Group, an alternative energy company, told IANS.

The vehicle is powered by a German technology engine. The initiative has been undertaken under a central subsidies plan of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. As many as five buses will be pressed into service in the city.

Biogas is produced from animal and plant waste and principally consists of methane. It is a non-toxic colourless flammable gas that can be used as fuel for vehicles, cooking and generating electricity. It is also a clean source of fuel and environment-friendly.

There will be a total of 4 trips on each of the routes — two in the morning and two in late afternoon. “We have plans to roll out as many as 15 buses by December this year with the same fare structure,” Jyoti Prakash Das, chairman and managing director of PIRDG, the company that launched the service said. The lowest fare in a Kolkata bus is Rs 6, which goes up to Rs 12 for 17 km, and that of a Delhi bus that runs on CNG is Rs 5 for 4 km and upwards.

The biogas that will be used to run the bus is produced at a plant in Bengal’s Birbhum district and will be transported to Kolkata in tankers.

“We are open to advertisements in our buses. Anybody willing to advertise on our bus can do it at Rs 2 lakh,” Mr Das added.

The importance of cow, a holy animal of the Hindus, has increased after BJP assumed power at the Centre in 2014, and more so, in Uttar Pradesh on March 18 this year.

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