Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung has approved the handing over of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) corridor to the Public Works Department for maintenance and to the Traffic police for the operation of its signalling system.
The Transport department has written to secretary, PWD, and other government departments concerned, intimating them of the matter.
The 14.5-km BRT corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Delhi Gate — only 5.8 km is operational currently — will be handed over to the PWD which will be responsible for maintenance of the stretch and streetlights.
The project has been embroiled in various controversies since its inception in 2008 and was being handled and maintained by the Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS).
In a letter to secretary, PWD, on Friday, Special Commissioner (Planning and Projects) Kuldeep Gangar said, “The existing BRT Corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Delhi Gate — i.e 14.5 km of the entire stretch — will be handed over to the PWD for all purposes for its operation and maintenance. The intelligent signalling system, presently maintained by DIMTS, shall now be maintained by the Delhi Traffic Police.”
The letter further said, “The streetlights on the BRT corridor shall be hereafter maintained by the PWD. Revenue earnings from the Bus Queue Shelters (BQS) on the BRT corridor shall be paid to the Delhi Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (DTIDC) and the maintenance of the BQS will also be looked after by the DTIDC”.
Sources in the Transport department said on November 26, the department had sent a note to the L-G, proposing handing over the entire project to the PWD.
“The proposal had been in the pipeline for quite sometime now. We had sent the L-G the file and had proposed that the maintenance be handed over to the PWD and the intelligent signalling system to the Traffic police. Considering that the PWD is the road-owning agency for the BRT stretch, it makes sense that it maintains it. The Transport department does not have its own engineering experts, something the PWD has. It will be easier for the agency to maintain it,” a senior Transport official said.
However, a senior PWD official said, “The PWD had been maintaining the road till the BRT came into being and the project was handed over to DIMTS. We have always objected to the idea stating that the corridor needed to be a closed system which would not obstruct traffic movement. The idea is to allow people who enter the network to travel anywhere inside the network. Moreover, the present corridor is not even complete. Only if the government asks us to construct the remaining corridor till Delhi Gate, will we do so.”
In 2013, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had admitted that the BRT was a mistake. Later, the AAP government had made the scrapping of the corridor part of its election manifesto.