Meet the press: The government will reconsider the policy on import of second hand electric vehicles only and not the import of all electric vehicles.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay clarified this at the 18th meet the press session yesterday.

“We cannot ban the import of e-cars; they are doing very well,” he said. “On the import of second hand e-cars, even though they are doing well, taxi drivers had complained only because they did not have charging stations and not on the cars itself.”

Lyonchoen added that the cabinet wanted to reconsider the import of second hand e-cars after the Anti-Corruption Commission questioned its legitimacy. “But the government had made it clear that it is legal and that it is within the government’s authority to allow the import of second hand e-cars. This has been the stand in the parliament and outside.”

The prime minister mentioned about reconsidering the policy at the 16th meet the press session on May 7 after the ACC’s annual report 2014,  which pointed out that the objective of the government to import electric vehicles in the country had violated the Constitution and the rules and procedure of imports from third countries.

“It has not been done yet but it is an agenda that will be discussed,” he said adding that there is a process of filling issues that needs to be discussed at the parliament.

The prime minister on May 7 had also said that second hand vehicles, according to the rules, are “restricted items”, which can be imported upon the government’s approval and that it was not the “prohibited items” that could not be imported.

The decision to import second-hand electric cars was made after consulting the Office of Attorney General (OAG), which shared the government’s opinion. “They (OAG) said that, if there was a doubt on whether the word restriction meant the same as prohibition, it could be decided by the court only,” lyonchoen had said.

Meanwhile, information and communications minister DN Dhungyel said the dealer of electric cars, Thunder Motors, will be installing five charging stations in the country.

One of the stations has been identified at Paro International Airport, which is expected to be up within two weeks. Another will be installed at the centenary farmers market for which thromde has been consulted.

“The third one is at Chuzom, discussions for which are on-going with Paro dzongkhag for the required land,” he said. “The fourth and fifth quick chargers will be at Khuruthang town and near Thinleygang but it has not yet been assigned.”

From the government’s side, efforts are being made, the minister said. By August the government will install two to three charging stations. He added that identifying the installation place, and who would install and take charge of the charging stations are being discussed right now.

“Japan International Cooperation Agency has offered five quick charging equipment to the government but there are additional costs involved in it to install,” lyonpo DN Dhungyel said.

Nirmala Pokhrel