New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) The Delhi government will install hydraulic lifts in 1,000 standard-floor buses to be purchased by it on its own cost to make them accessible for differently-abled persons, it on Thursday told the Supreme Court.
A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan was told that after the Delhi High Court had on June 1 restrained government from going ahead with the tendering process for purchasing buses, a meeting was held on June 19 by Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot on the issue of wheelchair friendly/accessible buses.
In its affidavit the Delhi government stated: “Pursuant to the meeting, the government of NCT of Delhi is agreeable to have these mechanical lifts fitted on all the buses proposed to be acquired under the Cluster scheme by the L1 bidders.
“The mechanical lifts will be installed by the Vehicle Manufacturers as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The fitment of hydraulic lifts is also envisaged under the harmonised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Urban Development,” it said, adding that the cost of this additional fitment – hydraulic lifts – which was not mentioned in the original tender specification, has been agreed to be borne by the Delhi government in principle.
The decision has been taken considering the dire need to augment the existing bus fleet, particularly on the rural routes identified for the purpose and the urgency of doing so in larger public interest and also specifically the need for disabled friendly public transport, the government further stated.
The affidavit also said that its decision will address the issue of accessible public buses to passengers with locomotor disability and to avoid any further delay in the acquisition of buses for public transport as a fresh tender may delay the entire process by more than a year.
The Delhi government and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has challenged June 1 order of the Delhi High Court by which it had barred them from procuring 2,000 standard-floor buses as they were not disabled-friendly.
On Wednesday, the apex court had asked the Delhi government to apprise it whether it wants to make these cluster buses friendly to differently-abled persons by fitting them with hydraulic lifts.