August 10, 2021 10:56:31 am
The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has managed to temporarily avert a major crisis of buses in the city after Tata Motors agreed to extend the maintenance contract of 1000 buses that have overshot their operational lives till September as a “special case”.
However, the company has sought clarity from the corporation on the fate of as many as 116 buses which will end up clocking distances that fall beyond the purview of all contracts by October. It has also made it clear that it will charge more if the contract is renewed again, according to proceedings of the DTC’s board meeting held on July 30.
The majority of the 1000 buses – 900 non-AC and 100 AC – are over 12 years old and have all much more than 7.5 lakh kilometers, which is their maximum operational life. However, due to the shortage of buses in the city, the state transport authority allows buses to run up to 15 years.
The DTC had on July 27 requested Tata Motors to extend the maintenance contract of these 1000 buses till October 31, or till the finalisation of a new contract that will ensure that 2644 buses, including these 1000, run up to 18 lakh kms, or 15 years, whichever is earlier, “to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to commuters of Delhi”.
“As a special case and based on long term association with the DTC and in the public interest, TML (Tata Motors Limited) is accepting the extension of contract request with the same rates and conditions till 30th Sep 20201,” Puneet Kumar, General Manager (Head – Fleet Management Solutions) wrote to the DTC on July 28.
Currently, 3760 buses run under the DTC — 656 over 12 years old, 3072 aged between 10-12, and 32 aged between 8-10 years. The DTC has authorized its chairman Kailash Gahlot, who is the city’s Transport Minister, to try and extend the maintenance contract of the 1000 buses beyond September based on requirements.
However, for that to happen, the DTC will have to shell out more as Tata Motors has specified in its July 28 letter that in case of extension is required beyond September 30, an agreement on new rates will have to be made.
Tata Motors has also sought clarity on buses that will complete the run of even the 1.2 lakh additional kms allowed under the existing contracts. “As per TML estimate in the next three months i.e. August 21, September 21, total approximately 116 buses shall cross 1.2 lakh kms as follows – August 13 buses, September 53 buses, October 50 buses. There is no contractual provisions for running the buses beyond 1,20,000 kms. Therefore we request DTC to kindly let us know about the provision of said buses,” the company said in a letter dated July 24 and reiterated it on July 28.
Recently, the DTC’s plan to augment its fleet ran into a controversy, with a three-member committee appointed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal pointing out lapses in the tendering process for the annual maintenance contract of the proposed 1000 low floor AC buses. Both the purchase and maintenance contract tenders have been put on hold by the Transport Department.
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