Along the 5.8-km stretch of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor, which runs from Ambedkar Nagar to Moolchand, the lanes which segregate buses from private vehicles have become worse for wear. Barriers, tied together with ropes, are a common sight and lane discipline is rarely enforced.
The deteriorating condition is being attributed to a lack of funds, which are meant to be provided by the transport department to Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS). Responsible for the maintenance of the corridor, DIMTS claims that it has not received any funds for the last three years and “has been trying its best to maintain the stretch with meagre funds”.
The transport department pays DIMTS approximately Rs 6 crore a year for maintaining the BRT. “While we are responsible for maintenance, the transport department has to provide us funds to do so. Despite this, we have been carrying out whatever maintenance we can. The transport department has been informed about this situation,” said a DIMTS spokesperson.
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Denying any major problem related to BRT maintenance, transport department sources said that funds would be released shortly. “Certain issues need to be sorted out before we do so. DIMTS also earns from advertisements placed along the corridor and we have asked them to inform us about the amount so that we only have to pay the balance,” said an official.
DIMTS said that while Rs 6 crore was the minimum amount required to maintain the BRT, they would need at least Rs 10 crore to maintain it properly. “Whatever we earn from advertisements is utilised for operational maintenance of traffic signals, among others,” added the DIMTS spokesperson.
Since its inception, the BRT has courted controversy. It was conceived and implemented during former chief minister Sheila Dikshit. But after facing flak, she had said that her government would consider dismantling the BRT during the run-up to the the Delhi Assembly election in 2013.
The Aam Aadmi Party also voiced their oppostition to the BRT as a concept when they took over in December 2013, but took no action. “AAP spoke about seeking legal opinion before taking any action, but nothing was done. The proposal for 14 new similar corridors in the city is stuck and no decision can be taken on the existing BRT in the absence of a government,” said a government official.
As far as enforcement of lane discipline is concerned, DIMTS said that while it had marshals stationed along the BRT, the marshals lack any real power. “Our officers are always there on site to manage general traffic. But we have not received any requests from any agency to ensure segregation of traffic along the BRT,” said a senior traffic official.