The government’s plan to ply 6,000 private buses during the implementation of the odd-even policy has, so far, generated little response from the intended participants. A little over 600 private buses, or one-tenth of what Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced, have turned up for the odd-even initiative that aims to battle pollution. What’s more, the government has had to issue a circular to schools to offer their buses for the drive.
According to the government’s plan, the private buses would be in action during the odd-even phase when around 14 lakh cars would have to stay off the city’s streets every day.
A four-day registration drive for private buses, under ‘Kilometer Scheme’, at Millennium Depot got lukewarm response. On the opening day (December 17), 93 buses were registered. Subsequently, the government relaxed conditions to attract more bus owners.
“Registration was opened in all 43 depots from December 18 onwards when many complained that they could not make it to the Millennium Depot on the opening day,” said R S Minhas, PRO, DTC. “Also, we had a condition that vehicles not older than 10 years could register. Later, we gave them a window of 15 years. The last date of registration was extended by six days to December 26,” added Minhas. Despite the relaxation in conditions and extension, the count of private buses registered read 638 Monday, according to DTC sources. Amid the poor response, the transport department has been holding meetings with private bus associations.
Shyam Lal Gola, general secretary of the State Transport Authority Operators’ Ekta Manch, said, “We had meetings with the transport department and ironed out small problems which contract carriage owners had. Earlier, the payment in the ‘Kilometer Scheme’ was going to be made to bus owners after the 15 days. Today, the government decided to stagger the payment on a five-day basis.”
Meanwhile, the city’s schools, which own around 2,000 private buses, were directed Monday to get their vehicles registered within the next two days. “We held a meeting with the deputy directors of education of the 12 districts. All schools with private buses will be brought on board,” said Rai.
Schools, however, have their reservations. S K Bhattacharya, president of Action Committee for Unaided Private Schools said the government “unilaterally decided” we will have to give our buses.