It was a proud moment when the Chief Minister of Goa announced his ride in India’s first biogas bus launched by Goa government. The bus was flagged off on Independence Day by the Governor of Goa who took a drive to Raj Bhavan in it. There was however one small problem with the announcement. As per media reports, India’s first biogas bus was already launched in Kolkata in April this year.

Make In India official handle also announced that India’s first biogas buses, by Scania, are on the streets of Goa.

Make In India provided a link to a Times of India article which elaborated that the “Goa government launched India’s first biogas-run bus as a pilot project on the occasion of Independence Day today. They intend to have approximately 40 such buses in the state by February 2018 which will run on the eco-friendly fuel.”

In April this year, the same newspaper (Times of India) had announced the first biogas bus in Kolkata with flat Re 1 fare.

The same was also reported by others like Hindustan Times, Deccan Herald, Indian Express and NDTV. They reported that the initiative was undertaken under a central subsidies plan of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The buses were built in Delhi using Tata Motors chassis. Asian age had published a picture of the biogas bus launched in Koklata.

biogas bus kolkata (Courtesy Asian Age)
Biogas Bus in Kolkata (Courtesy Asian Age)

Jyoti Prakash Das, Chairman and Managing Director of Phoenix India Research & Development Group, told NDTV “We are the first one to launch biogas bus in the entire south east Asia. Now old buses which have run for 15 or 20 years, can also be given a fresh lease of life with this clean and cheap fuel, and we are in the process of seeking government approval for the same.”

Government of India encourages biofuels i.e. biogas, biodiesel and bioethanol. India’s first ethanol-run buses were launched in Nagpur in August 2014. On the lines of ethanol, Nagpur Municipal Corporation had also started the process to launch the nation’s first biogas and biodiesel city buses. In July 2017, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) launched India’s first biodiesel buses. If we are to go by media reports, India’s first biogas bus was launched in Kolkata in April, 2017 and not in Goa.

However, confusion still remains about India’s first biogas bus. Parrikar’s tweet and media reports on launch of the Goa biogas bus contradict the earlier media reports about the Kolkata biogas bus being India’s first biogas bus. It is surprising that sections of media that carried the story about the launch of India’s first biogas bus in April did not bother to check and clarify before running another story with the same claim in August.