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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

As air quality dips, Delhi govt mulls curbs on interstate buses, passengers at ISBTs

Air quality has dipped significantly in the city over the past two weeks, and if buses are allowed to enter the city, it might make matters worse, officials feel. “

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 2, 2020 6:46:22 am
delhi air pollution, delhi air quality, delhi aqi, delhi interstate buses, dtc buses, isbt, delhi buses pollution, delhi city newsNo passenger will be allowed to stand in buses as per the draft plan. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

Only buses purchased in or after 2015 should be allowed to enter Delhi at the Inter-State Bus Terminals (ISBTs), keeping in mind the “alarming situation of pollution in the capital, the Delhi Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation (DTIDC) has suggested.

Air quality has dipped significantly in the city over the past two weeks, and if buses are allowed to enter the city, it might make matters worse, officials feel. “It is advised that the interstate buses entering ISBTs should not be older than 2015 Model in the wake of alarming situation of pollution in Delhi. DTIDC may gradually reduce the age of buses and ultimately allow the entry of only CNG, Electric and BS-VI buses at the three ISBTs. Therefore, the operators are advised to start making preparation in this direction well in time,” the draft standard operating procedure says.

The draft will be discussed in a meeting on Monday on the issue of allowing buses from other states to enter Delhi and ply regularly, and it is expected that clearance will be given this week.

The draft says that people will be allowed in only after thermal screening and “in case of any doubt about illness of any asymptomatic passenger, he/she may be asked to present himself for rapid/RT-PCR test at camps set up at three ISBTs.”

Visitors and those who have not bought tickets will not be allowed to wander around in the premises. Only half the number of buses, as compared to earlier, will be allowed till mid-November. The limits will have to be imposed at the state of origin. No passenger will be allowed to stand and it has to be ensured that social distancing norms have to be followed, said the draft.

Before the lockdown, ISBT at Kashmere Gate, Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar saw 3,500 interstate bus trips and 2,000 local bus trips on a daily basis. Interstate bus services were suspended when the nation-wide lockdown was imposed in March.

According to the draft plan, the bus conductor and driver will have to produce a certificate proving they were sanitised, at the entry point of the ISBT. “The interstate buses shall be sanitised…at the point of origin… Buses at ISBTs shall be sanitised by DTIDC before departure from ISBTs,” the draft said.

Proposed rules

  • Buses shall be limited to 50% of pre-Covid numbers up to Nov 15
  • Passengers to be screened, only asymptomatic ones to be allowed to board buses
  • No visitor/wanderer /unwanted person shall be allowed in ISBTs
  • Passengers in waiting area shall be allowed to sit on alternate bench seats
  • Passengers visiting ISBTs can avail the Covid testing facility at special camps set up at all ISBTs

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