The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana alone cannot be blamed for the poor air quality in the national capital if the Delhi government was not willing to improve public transport, adding that it should buy more buses on a “war footing”.
“Every citizen is suffering from pollution. All authorities have opined that pollution on account of road transport is the major source of air pollution in Delhi. We need buses. This needs more serious attention than burning of crops and odd-even scheme,” said the high court emphasising the need for better public transport facility.
“The Delhi government should make an effort on war footing to bring in more buses as there is urgency for more buses for Delhi’s citizens,” it added.
The court’s observation came on a PIL by a person suffering from locomotor disability, challenging the Delhi government’s decision to procure 2,000 standard floor buses at a cost of Rs 300 crore.
Contending that the government showed insensitivity towards disabled persons by procuring non-disabled-friendly buses, the petitioner said the standard floor buses had higher steps and were not equipped for wheelchair access, and, therefore, would affect about 2.34 lakh disabled persons in the national capital.
The court, however, refused to stay the government’s decision to procure 2,000 buses.
It added that in 1998, the Supreme Court had directed the city government to augment the fleet of buses from 5,000 to 10,000, but despite the passage of 19 years, the government had not yet achieved the target.
The high court impleaded the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the Northern Railway as parties in the PIL and sought their responses on improving and increasing their facilities.
During the hearing, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) told the court that it was facing difficulty in procuring low-floor buses and it had floated tenders three times but had not received any positive responses.
High cost of low-floor buses and maintenance of these buses was the main reason that it had not been able to procure these buses, it added.
The court has posted the matter for hearing on November 23.