Bollywood actor Salman Khan, who is often seen on Mumbai roads riding a bicycle, will this time pedal for the government’s initiative to popularise e-cycles.
The e-cycles come equipped with a small electric motor and can be used to cover greater distances than plain bicycles.
The initiative is supported by the road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari, who said that the government wants to encourage cycling as a healthy mode of transportation.
“Salman Khan has discussed the issue with me. He is also looking into the aspects of manufacturing e-cycles. It will create huge awareness among the masses,” the road transport and highways minister told PTI.
The announcement of the partnership with Salman Khan comes before the opening of the first leg of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway, which includes India’s first 14-lane highway and has a 2.5-metre wide cycle track.
The minister added that almost all new highways and expressways will have separate cycle tracks and people will be encouraged to use those for last mile connectivity, thereby benefiting them health-wise as well.
Indian government is pushing for electric vehicle as it sees cost and clean advantage.
Recently, Gadkari warned automakers in the country to move to vehicles that run on electricity, biodiesel, ethanol and compressed natural gas.
According to the government’s ambitious plan, India will become an all electric vehicle country by 2030.
At present, less than 1 per cent of the 200 million vehicles on Indian roads are estimated to be electric vehicles.
In January this year, the Indian government also announced to support at least 60 percent of R&D cost for developing an indigenous low-cost electric technology.
The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan seeks to have 400,000 electric vehicles on India’s streets by 2020.
However, electric cars have a tough road to travel. Due to lack of technology and demand, sales of electric vehicles and hybrids declined to 25,000 units in 2016-17 from 32,000 the previous year.