"250 KSRTC Electric Buses running in Kerala are provided by the Centre" - The claim quoting Union Minister is False

The false claim on social media is based on the written reply of union minister Nithin Gadkari in the Lok Sabha that 250 e-buses are sanctioned for Kerala under FAME-II. NewsMeter investigated that Kerala hasn’t purchased buses under this scheme and those running in Trivandrum as ‘city circular service’ are purchased through KIIFB.

By HABEEB RAHMAN YP  Published on  15 Aug 2022 5:32 AM GMT
250 KSRTC Electric Buses running in Kerala are provided by the Centre - The claim quoting Union Minister is False

Social media posts claim that the 250 electric buses of KSRTC running in Kerala are given by the union government. The claims are shared as posters with pictures of Prime Minister Narendramodi and Union Minister Nithin Gadkari. The posts say that "Don't change the name of the scheme; those 250 KSRTC Electric buses running in Kerala are given by the union government. Union minister Nithin Gadkari informed the Lok Sabha that the buses are sanctioned under the FAME India phase II scheme. Many have already shared these posts on Facebook and Twitter.




We could find social media posts with similar content from various accounts. A similar news has also been published in the website of Malayalam newspaper 'Janmabhumi' on 5th August 2022.


The report says that the centre has sanctioned 250 electric buses for KSRTC, which is based on the reply of union minister Nithin Gadkari in the Lok Sabha. But the report doesn't say anything about the purchase of buses under the scheme. It is misleading that the heading given mentions "250 e-buses running in Kerala".

Fact Check:

In the first phase of fact-checking, we investigated the report published by one of the mainstream media - Janmabhumi - quoting the union minister. We found that various media platforms have reported the same. Mathrubhumi Online has also given the same statement of the union Minister in their report. But the report doesn't mention the purchase of e-buses running in the state.

We checked the written reply of the union minister in the Lok Sabha. We found that the news and claims are based on the reply to Mr. NK Premachandran MP's question in the Lok Sabha on 4th August, on the promotion of electric vehicles, to Nithin Gadkari.

The question was whether the union government proposes to extend financial assistance to KSRTC for purchase of electric vehicles, and if so to provide the details of actions taken.


The reply from the union minister Nithin Gadkari clearly states that 250 electric buses are sanctioned for Kerala under FAME - II, and their district-wise division. Along with this, the answer also includes another statement that LoA for the same wasn't issued within the stipulated timeline by KSRTC.


It is clear that though the centre has sanctioned electric buses, Kerala hasn't completed the process to take it further. It means the buses now running in Kerala are not under this particular scheme.

In the second phase of fact-checking, we checked about the purchase of electric buses for the city circular service that started in Trivandrum on 1st August.

The media reports published during the arrival of buses from Haryana state that the buses have been purchased with KIIFB assistance. In a report published by Mathrubhumi, it says that 25 buses have been brought in the first phase and 25 more to come. Another media report shared by Transport Minister Antony Raju says that 23 e-buses are to begin 'city circular service'.

We also got certain evidence that supports this. It is clear from the KIIFB website that financial assistance is provided for 50 electric buses to KSRTC in Trivandrum district.


Now we can conclude that the e-buses running in the city circular service launched by KSRTC in Trivandrum are not part of the FAME - II scheme of the Centre, but purchased with the financial assistance of KIIFB with a specific percent of subsidy from the Centre. Also, it is clear that 250 e-buses are not running in the state as claimed in social media posts.

In the last phase of fact-checking, we also inquired about the last part of Nithin Gadkari's reply. We found that the state transport minister Antony Raju has given an explanation on FB on why the state has not opted to submit LoA on time for FAME-II, in which 250 buses were sanctioned. The Facebook post shared on 6th August says that KSRTC has not opted the scheme considering the higher financial burden, and requested the Centre to make changes to the existing scheme.


We also found the Facebook post on the KSRTC official Facebook page stating that they haven't opted for the FAME-II scheme due to the higher rates.


For a further official confirmation over the phone, we contacted Sri. G.P. Pradeep Kumar, Executive Director (Operations) of KSRTC. He also confirmed that the buses now running under city circular service are not part of the FAME-II scheme and were purchased directly.

Conclusion:

The claim on social media that the 250 electric buses of KSRTC running in Kerala are given by the Centre is false. We confirmed that the claim is based on part of the reply given by Union Minister Nithin Gadkari in the Lok Sabha. The reply itself confirms that Kerala hasn't purchased buses under this scheme. The official confirmation on the topic from state transport minister Antony Raju and KSRTC further clarifies the context. It is also clear that only 23 electric buses are now running under KSRTC City Circular Service, and the headline given as "250 e-buses running in Kerala" is false.

Claim Review:All 250 KSRTC Electric buses running in Kerala are provided by the Union Government
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:False
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