sharbani banerjee
[email protected]
New Delhi, 16 July
Risking the lives of thousands of commuters in the Capital, the Delhi Transport Corporation’s (DTC) rickety old buses, even after being declared ‘scrapped’, continue to ply on city roads. These buses are being used even after they have completed their life span of 10 years, flouting all safety norms.
According to a senior DTC official, all the 1,624 standard buses have been defined as scrapped as they have completed either eight years on the road or traversed 6 lakh kms.
"These buses completed both norms between 2001 and 2003. After ten years, the buses are still plying on roads and they often break down," said a DTC official.
He said the corporation is forced to run these dilapidated buses because of the inadequate number of buses. Even after the High Court’s direction to introduce 11,000 buses including 5,500 DTC and 5,500 cluster buses, the Delhi government failed to meet the requirement.
"After the court’s order, the ratio for buses was divided into 50:50 under which DTC and cluster buses had to be introduced but due to the lackadaisical attitude of authorities, the buses failed to arrive," said an official.  He said there was a plan to procure 625 buses under the JNNURM scheme in the first phase to fill the gap but after two years it has taken a back seat and tenders have not been finalised yet.
"Another set of 1100 buses were also about to ply on roads in the second phase but no decision could be taken yet on these even after a year of planning. As a result, plans are only on paper and i’s the commuters who have to bear the brunt of the government’s negligent attitude," said the official.
At present, there are 3,775 swanky green and cherry coloured low-floor buses and another 620 orange cluster buses which are fit to ply on roads.
"This means, the city with a huge population where lakhs of commuters are dependent on public transport does not have enough buses to meet even half of its requirement. While the metro has not been connected to several areas till date, autos and taxis are beyond the reach of the general public," said the official.