- Within a span of 60 days, 5 DTC buses have caught fire, endangering the lives of 100s of travellers inside them
- Apparently, half of DTC buses were bought during Commonwealth games, most of whom have outlived their utility.
- DTC is running into losses and Kejriwal is only endangering the lives of the very same people who voted for him
Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is the lifeline of Delhi. People who cannot afford the metro use it for travelling, which is not a small number by the way. However, as is true for every other thing AAP Supremo Arvind Kejriwal touches, DTC buses are on the verge of destruction, it is only a matter of time before you could hear unfortunate news of people getting roasted inside a DTC bus.
5 DTC buses caught fire
On April 26, 2022, India Today reported that a DTC bus had caught fire on the Geeta Colony flyover. Although passengers had been timely rescued, it took a long time for authorities to gain control over the situation. On the very next day, Indian Express reported that another bus had caught fire near Shanti Van. The bus was running from Nand Nagri Depot and was running on route number 275.
The fire in a non-air-conditioned bus on route number 275 was the third such incident in a month. Over the period of the last 60 days, it was the fifth bus which suddenly caught fire, endangering the precious lives of Delhiites. It turns out that the bus running on route number 275 was the only non-air-conditioned bus. All other buses were air-conditioned.
Meanwhile, the Delhi transport minister has decided to form a six-member committee to look into the root causes of the incidents. It is headed by Special Commissioner (Operations) Transport. The committee is mandated to submit an interim report within 15 days and a final report within 30 days.
24. DTC BUSES pic.twitter.com/ounLEuNJeY
— Lucky Paaji (@urluckypaaji) April 25, 2022
Buses are way past their service life
However, if we go by facts available in the public domain, there is no need for a special committee to look into the in-depth causes of these incidents. Unnamed officials cited by Indian Express said that every bus which caught fire was brought during the Commonwealth Games, in 2010. These buses have completed their annual maintenance Contract period. After 12 years of their use, these buses are not fit to run on roads. Despite knowing this inevitable threat, the AAP government is running nearly 1,900 such buses in Delhi.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, leader of the opposition in the Delhi Assembly. “The Kejriwal government is playing with the lives of the people of Delhi and overage buses are running on the roads. This is the reason why DTC buses are catching fire every day,” said Mr Bidhuri.
Bidhuri is also of the opinion that forming an enquiry commission is the government’s method to avoid its failure. “The Delhi government is trying to cover up the matter and hiding its failure by forming a committee. The government itself has admitted in a reply given in the assembly that the life span of DTC buses is 7.5 lakh kilometres and most of its 3,760 buses have completed this distance,” added Bidhuri.
DTC’s loss is beyond redemption
Looking at the dilapidated state of these buses, one is left to ponder the financial status of DTC. Here also, Kejriwal has turned out to be a huge disappointment. In July 2021, the AAP government itself informed that the DTC is running into losses worth thousands of crores.
In a written reply to a question by BJP MLA Ajay Mahavar, the transport department said, “In the past six years, the DTC suffered losses of Rs 1,019.36 crore in 2014-15, Rs 1,250.15 crore in 2015-16, Rs 1,381.78 crore in 2016-17, Rs 1,730.02 crore in 2017-18, Rs 1,664.56 crore in 2018-19. According to the interim estimates for 2019-20, the losses stood at Rs 1,834.67 crore”
Kejriwal failed to fulfil his promises
The continuous losses have resulted in the throttling of Kejriwal’s announcement of adding 5000 more buses to the DTC fleet, taking the total number of buses to 11,000. In fact, the opposition claims that Kejriwal not only failed in adding more buses to the fleet but also ended up decreasing the total number of buses running in Delhi.
Putting out its own calculation about the buses, BJP said, “When Kejriwal came to power in Delhi in 2013-14, there were 5,223 buses on the DTC fleet, now this number has reduced to only 3,762. More than 25% of the buses (or 2,644) have been taken off the roads after completing 12 years of age or having operated more than 7.5 lakh kilometres.”
As usual, Kejriwal has been able to do more harm than good. Currently, nearly 13 lakh people rely on DTC for their daily commute. No one knows how many of them will have to pay the penalty for choosing a reckless individual at the top.