Round Table meet held on challenges of E-Buses

Availability of renewable energy at local level and battery life – A big challenge

In line with the announcements made by the government of India of phasing out internal combustion engines, states and cities across the country are promoting an accelerated transition to electric public buses. Waatavaran and Purpose jointly hosted a stakeholder meet with an aim to develop a plan around Mumbai’s electric buses and public transport, highlighting the aesthetic, environmental, economic and overall sustainability of renewable powered Electric Buses (E-buses). The meet was held at The Ambassador Hotel, Churchgate. ‘Newsband’ participated as one of the stakeholders from Navi Mumbai.

Bhagwan Keshbhat, Founder CEO, Waatavaran Foundation welcoming the participants expressed, “This is a primary stage and at this very moment the discussion on the issue of adoption and practical aspects will help to enhance the penetration of renewable powered electrical buses and how it can meet the goals of efficient, reliable and clean transportation. This consultation will work as a tool for providing support in shaping up the right future for Mumbaikar via better public transportation system, clean energy and to put an air pollution free Mumbai and its outskirt on the global map.”

Sandeep Dahiya, a campaigner at Purpose said, “Mumbai today is facing an acute problem of clean and affordable public buses which often leads to other problems: traffic congestion, high fossil fuel consumption, loss of productivity, vehicular parking shortages, and deterioration of air and environment. While the city has a formal public transport system in place, there has been a steep increase in the number of private vehicles in the last two decades, in the absence of strong, clean & well-connected public infrastructure.”

Sudhir Badami, Independent Transportation analyst expressed, “Currently there is less than a third of the required number of buses on the roads. Undertakings like BEST, NMMT etc. have been working towards procuring new buses and mitigating the unsustainable vehicular growth in the city, but the efforts need much more urgency. However, it is important that we address this urgently and look at innovative and adaptable solutions. Short route Ten Seat buses are having big scope as they are the alternatives to rising Auto Rickshaws in the city.”

He also emphasized that bus stops must be designed keeping in mind the visually and physically challenged commuters.

Sunil Dahiya, senior Campaigner, Greenpeace stated, “Electric Mobility can proved a solution to air pollution and clean energy transition, which needs to be studied in depth and proper actions must be taken to resolve the challenges that are presently faced.”

Amit Bhatt, Director, Integrated Urban Transport at WRI India speaking about the experience of Ahmedabad stated, “E-Buses are being launched in the city and the first buyers are mostly Public Transporters. The buyers of E-Buses are presently still operating it on an experimental practices with respect to batteries being used. There are two major Batteries being utilized- one is Swapping Batteries and the second is Charging Batteries. One must not be shocked to know that 90 percent of the Electric Buses are dominated by China made batteries and buses globally.”

Explaining the challenges of Swapping Battery, Dr. Surendrakumar Bagde, General Manager of BEST Undertaking said, “In the swapping batteries process the dried batteries are replaced with charged batteries at the charging station by means of a plug-in connector solution and robot system. On an average one E-Bus will need to move to charging station atleast 2-3 times a day. Even if it is said, that it takes a mere 7 minutes, on a practical note it takes around 15 – 20 minutes of process time”

He further informed, “On an average an E-Bus with a swapping battery, if it leaves the depot at 6 am, by 9 am it completes 30 km of distance. And then as the battery gets discharged, the Bus has to come back to the Charging Station to swap the battery. The question is, whether my Bus driver has to bring the commuters along with him and make them wait for 15 minutes? Or must he/she ask the passengers get down and wait for another Bus.”

Informing about the Charging Battery he expressed, “In the charging battery option we have to charge overnight only. On an average one single Bus runs around 135 km. But considering the civil condition of the city, the battery consumption will be more. This again raises a question, what if the bus battery gets dried in the midway. Surely it has an automate system to inform early about the status. But then, the driver has to serve the people and cannot say that the battery is getting dried up and needs to be charged and go off the road. After all we are not private transporters, we are public servants and are answerable”

He concluded stating, “There is a need for substantial solution and it has to be the responsibility of the manufacturers to provide proper solution.”

Speaking about the availability of spaces for charging and energy source, Victor Nagaonkar OSD, BEST informed, “The BEST is going to have around 600 E-Buses and all will be charged mostly overnight in our 27 Depots. However the energy source will be different at different locations. In island we have 6 Depots, here we have our own power, but rest 21 are in Suburbans, the utilization will be based on the service providing agencies.”

He also expressed that, “As a transporter for us Diesel was the most comfort, CNG is bit discomfort, but Electricity is presently a big discomfort. The reason is we are not used to it. Actually we have skipped one section that is Hybrid. It is like jumping from Pager to Mobile. Before understanding the basic technology we have gone to higher technology. And hence we will have to learn from our experiences.”

Abhishek Kumar Pratap, Senior Researcher at Asar shared the scope of renewable-powered electric buses and experience of Delhi based ESL Charging Kiosks that helps in saving time.

Polash Mukerjee, from Lead – Clean Air, NRDC expressed the proper need of creating National Electric Vehicle Policies and City transport. He also expressed that there is a need to understand the Gross Cost the transporter is going to face.

Chirag Gajjar, Senior Manager, Climate & Lead- Mitigation, WRI India spoke on the Integration of decentralised renewable energy to power electric buses. He also shared the experience of Portland E-Buses, he said, “In Portland the E-Buses have two batteries, one with standard charging that runs for around 120 km and second is fast charging batteries that run for 80 km and all are charged through Wind power.”

Hussain Indoriwala, Asst. Professor, Kamla Raheja Institute of Architecture gave a briefing on the transformation of the Public Transportation from Animal based Carts to Trains, Buses, Metros and the Private vehicles and the challenges ahead.

Discussion was also made on the vision to have 100% clean public transport while it is on the roads and its source of energy. In the Association of State Road Transport Undertakings, government of India and their vision for all State Transport buses to be electric by 2030. And how to ensure these electric vehicles are powered by clean and renewable energy.

The other big challenge discussed was to increase ridership, Jaspal Singh Naol of Newsband Newspaper and a Campaigner of Green Society Forum shared the experience of organizing NMMT Bus Day in Navi Mumbai for behavioural change and to increase the ridership.

The stakeholders present on the occasion included, Sharmila Deo, Prasar Pune, Debi Goenka, Conservation action Team, Nirja Bhatnagar, Action Aid, Shikha,, Rasika, Regularity Assistance Project, Rahul Kadri, Principal Architect and Partner at IM Kadri Associates, Jayendra Wadhankar, MEDA, Meghna Y, WRI, Sangeeta Kharat, Shrushtidnyan, Virochan Raate, Nirmala Niketan College of Social Worker, Evita Das, IGSSS.

Rcycledelic FIFA Mural made by Upcycling Waste or Used Plastic Bottle Caps – Plastic Waste in Navi Mumbai

Green Society Forum the developer of Mother India Board and on street campaigner of NMMT Bus Day has once again came up with an unique applied visual art made to promote Recycle Waste / Upcycle Waste named Recycledelic FIFA Mural. The mural has stolen the hearts of 40 thousands of students of Navi Mumbai who had taken part in NMMC organized FIFA Walkathon. The monument has been placed just opposite the NMMC Headquarter on Palm Beach Road, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai. To make Navi Mumbai a model for Recycle Art and Upcycle Art. Moreover it has to be called as Recycle Art Navi Mumbai and Upcycle Art Navi Mumbai. Nationally it has to be stated as Recycle Art India and Upcycle Art India.

The monument was unveiled by the hands of Navi Mumbai Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane in presence of NMMC Commissioner Dr. N. Ramaswami, Deputy Mayor Avinash Lad, Deputy Municipal Commissioner Tushar Pawar, ETC Director Varsha Bhagat, and other eminent people.

K Binoy, Concept Director informed “The ‘Recycledelic FIFA Mural’ has been developed by Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) & Green Society Forum’s Green Placemakers under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Swachh Navi Mumbai Mission). With the vision to transform Navi Mumbai into Zero waste, Eco Friendly, Smart Art City.”

Nikhil M, Public Relation Director, explained the development process, “The monument has been made using more than 7000 used Plastic Bottle Caps. The caps were collected from across the Navi Mumbai city in 5 days. The monument was developed in 10 Days. The round shaped mural is 6.5 Feet Diameter and weighs around 250 kg”

Jaspal Singh Naol, Social Initiative Director, explained why Plastic Bottle Caps has been used, “There is a need to engage people in social transformation which is in itself a big challenge for the society. Creative and Green Innovative methodology is the only way we can transform human behaviour towards Nature. The threat of plastic to nature is no hidden fact. There is only two simple steps to solve this rising threat. First one is Stop or Limit usage of Plastic goods and the second is Conversion of Waste into Art form”

Kishor Biswas, Art Director added, “As a pilot project NMMC in association with Green Society Forum has open a Drop Off Centre at Mango Garden, CBD Belapur. One can drop off any old and unused plastic good, toys, cycles, etc. so that it can be transformed into an Art form. One can contribute time (Volunteer) to transform Navi Mumbai into Zero Waste, Eco Friendly, Smart Art City and promote Recycle Art Navi Mumbai, Upcycle Art Navi Mumbai, Recycle Art India and Upcycle Art India,”

Jaspal Singh Naol, Social Initiative Director, Green society Forum expressed, “There is a need to create awareness, training programmes and workshops amongst all the section of the society on the methodology to Upcycle Waste.”

The Team

Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation
Guider: Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Dr. N. Ramaswami
Mentor: Tushar Pawar, Dy Municipal Commissioner (Solid Waste Management Department, NMMC) & Machinder Patil (Senior Journalist)

Green Society Forum

The Team

Art Director: Kishor Biswas

Concept Director: Benoy K,

Social Initiative Director: Jaspal Singh Naol (Social Worker & Journalist)

Visual Director: Allwyn Augustine & Abu Ramzia

Public Relation Director: Nikhil M

Volunteers: Mohammed Arif Shaikh, Harpal Singh Naol, Kapil Malhotra, Sanjay Singh and Kunal Biswas

Training the Face of NMMT

During the process of Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) Bus Day marked on 23 February 2016. Training was provided to around 1000 NMMT  Employees including Administrators, Mechanical Team, Ticket Checkers (Inspectors), Conductors, Drivers etc. from 1st to 10th February 2016 with respect to NMMT Bus Day to be marked on 23 February 2016 by Jaspal Singh Naol, Social Initiative Director of Green Society Forum (GSF) under the banner of Save Life Foundation a part of GSF in collaboration with NMMT at NMMT Bus Depot, Turbhe, Navi Mumbai.
The main focus was safe, reliable, affordable, efficient, people-centric and environment friendly transport system like NMMT Bus.
About NMMT Bus Day
NMMT had organised NMMT Bus Day on 23 February 2016 considering three major concern and the alternatives
1. Climate Change : Due to rise in population of Self Owned Cars the Air Pollution level had gone Up
2. Society Health : The air pollution had directly spread more and more diseases in the society and also weaken the Health.
3. Economical Transformation of Society : Rising threat of Health directly impacted the Economical status of the society.
4. Alternative : Use of Public Sector Transport System like NMMT Bus will

a. Reduce the pollution
b. Reduce Traffic Jams
c. Reduce the threat of Health
d. Save Time
e. Save Money
f. Increase the Time to think on Future Development
And more…

Mother India Board made by Upcycling E-Waste

First time in India Green Society Forum introduce an unique idea and created the map of India by using non functioning Mother Boards of Laptops. This was the very first monument developed by Forum to promote 4Rs and spread the message of  newly invented term ‘Retain meaning Upcycling’ in the field of Waste management, people also say it as a process to Recycle Waste, But we state it as a process of Recycle Art and Upcycle Art of Recycle Art Navi Mumbai, Upcycle Art Navi Mumbai, Recycle Art India and Upcycle Art India.

Mother India Board is presently installed in three locations. One in the Cabin of Deputy Municipal Commissioner of Solid Waste Management of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation at its Headquarter in CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai, second one is installed at Swachhta Park in Nisarg Udyan, Koperkhairane, Navi Mumbai and the third is installed at Botanical Garden, Science Centre, Puducherry run by Puducherry Government.


India is one of the biggest Electronic Goods consumer and on the similar grounds its going to be one of the biggest E-Waste developer.
However in the past the Basel Action Network (BAN) which works for prevention of globalisation of toxic chemicals has stated in a report that 50 to 80 per cent of e-waste collected by the US is exported to India, China, Pakistan, Taiwan and a number of African countries. India is the fifth biggest producer of e-waste in the world; discarding 1.7 million tonnes (Mt) of electronic and electrical equipment in 2014. Wherein Maharashtra tops with 20270.59 MT E waste.

Moreover in India, about 4.5 lakh child laborers in the age group of 10-14 are observed to be engaged in various E-waste activities and that too without adequate protection and safeguards in various yards and recycling workshops. E-waste contains over 1,000 toxic materials, which contaminate soil and ground water. Exposure can cause headache, irritability, nausea, vomiting, and eye pain. Recyclers may suffer liver, kidney and neurological disorders.

Awareness and Training Workshops are the first step followed by Establishment of e-waste collection, exchange and recycling centres should be encouraged in partnership with public, private entrepreneurs and manufacturers. The other way out is transforming E-waste into Applied Visual Art by group of people or Individuals at grass root levels.

Future Plan:

Wants to collaborate with various Government Agencies, SMES, Corporates and NGO’s and Upcycle Waste into Applied Visual Art at a reasonable cost.

The Team

Art Director: Kishor Biswas

Concept Director: Benoy K,

Social Initiative Director: Jaspal Singh Naol (Social Worker & Journalist)

Visual Director: Allwyn Augustine & Abu Ramzia

Public Relation Director: Nikhil M

Volunteers: Mohammed Arif Shaikh, Harpal Singh Naol, Kapil Malhotra, Sanjay Singh and Kunal Biswas