Delhi will start receiving its first fleet of 300 e-buses from January 2022 since the tender for the same has matured, a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) official said on Wednesday.
“The first fleet of e-buses will start coming from January 2022,” Ravinder Singh Minhas, Deputy Chief General Manager (Traffic and Public Relations) at DTC, told IANS.
In August 2020, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had said that the national capital will receive as many as 2,000 electric buses by the end of 2021. However, a few months ago, lack of infrastructure was cited as the reason behind the delay in the rollout of the first batch of this most commonly used mode of public transport.
Both the Delhi and Central governments are actively batting for greener and sustainable vehicles to prepare better for the future challenges of environmental problems caused due to climate change.
“At present, there are 3,700 low-floor buses (red and green) and nearly 4,000 cluster buses (orange and blue) running on Delhi roads while the city requires 15,000 more buses,” another DTC official said on condition of anonymity, adding that in 2010, a tender was passed for the procurement of 11,000 premium (air-conditioned) buses which hasn’t been processed till date due to administrative issues.
The DTC had floated a tender to purchase 1,000 buses in January 2021, which were intended to ply on the city roads by September.
However, following an allegation by BJP MLA Vijender Gupta of corruption in the annual maintenance contract (AMC) for procuring these buses, a three-member panel was formed by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who handed over the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for preliminary enquiry.
The official said that in 2010, the then Delhi government had decided to divide the maintenance work of fleets between the DTC and private corporations.
“Since then, 50 per cent of DTC-controlled buses are being maintained by private players who can either look after the work on their own or assign it to their authorised agents, and the other half by the DTC.
“Both the arrangements before and after 2010 were good. They both have their own pros and cons. At the end of the day, proper management of fleets is all that matters,” the official said.
On space for more vehicles in the national capital, he said, “There is sufficient space in Delhi. Nearly 12 million cars are registered here and if they can run, so can a few thousand more buses.”