The German Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel, whose two-day visit to Delhi coincided with one of the worst spells of pollution, said the Capital's pollution presented a very good argument for replacing public buses run on diesel with those powered by electricity.
Mrs. Merkel pledged to spend one billion euros--about Rs 8,000 crore at current exchange rate—in the next five years on green urban mobility in India, as part of German-Indian partnership projects.
'We will also earmark Euros 200 Million to reform the bus sector in Tamil Nadu. Whoever has looked at pollution in Delhi yesterday would find very good arguments to replacing diesel buses with electric buses,' she said on Saturday.
The National Capital Region experienced its most polluted day in nearly two years on Friday when the average Air Quality Index touched 484 around 4 pm. This improved minimally on Saturday morning and came out of the ‘emergency’ zone, but pollution levels are still in the ‘severe’ category and the city continues to be shrouded in smoke and haze.
Mrs. Merkel and the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, held the 5th Intergovernmental Consultations between the two countries on Friday and signed several pacts for cooperation in trade, investment, regional security, climate change, defence, artificial intelligence etc.
She visited the Dwarka Sector 21 Metro Station on Saturday with Mr. Modi before flying back to Germany the same day. The solar panels at the metro station have been funded by the German government.