1,000 E-buses are not sufficient, prepare plan to improve system: SC

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NEW DELHI: Six days before Delhi Government propose the procurement of 1,000 low floor electric buses to fight air pollution in Delhi and address commuters’ woes, which are expected to arrive from June-July 2019 onwards, to augment public transport here.

A bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta had asked the Delhi government to appraise the apex court about the nature and quality of electric buses and to ponder the possibility of using hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses.

Supreme Court today called “deficient” an affidavit filed by the Delhi government on procurement of 1,000 low floor electric buses, including the details of availability of funds, land for bus depots, charging stations, nature of electric buses and infrastructure for an intelligent transport system. SC asks Delhi Government and Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) to prepare a comprehensive plan on strengthening Delhi’s public transport system within six weeks.

“Tell your people not to be in a hurry because in hurry, you will have problems. Have a solid plan about it. You can have experts for this,” a bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, who represented Delhi government.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers told the bench that it would not be able to provide 1000 buses demanded by Delhi government in a short period of time.

In its affidavit, Delhi government had said that its “all-out efforts” to augment bus fleet to meet the requirement of 11,000 buses was hindered due to non-availability of land for depots and repeated failure of tenders issued by DTC for procurement of vehicles.

The total number of buses plying by DTC is 5,500 that include 1,275 low-floor AC buses, 2,506 low-floor non-AC buses and 101 Green standard-floor non-AC buses and 1,672 orange-coloured standard low-floor buses. The city needs around 15,000 buses to cater to its rapidly growing population.

Towards the end of the hearing, the bench observed that the government would have to look into the issue of whether the roads would be able to handle these 1,000 electric buses.




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