As the state government failed to meet the deadline of December 31 to increase the fleet of buses to 10,000, its counsel Wasim Ahmed Qadri requested a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta to grant more time to comply with the order.
The number of buses running on Delhi roads is only 5,400 against the requirement of 10,000 and the Supreme Court had last year fixed a deadline of December 31, 2018 to increase the fleet of buses. There are 1,275 low-floor AC buses, 2,506 low-floor non-AC buses, 101 green standard-floor non-AC buses and 1,672 orange-coloured standard low-floor buses.
Quadri told the Supreme Court bench that it was not possible to purchase a large number of buses in a short time as it was also difficult for the automobile company to manufacture them on short notice. He added that the government is taking all steps to augment the fleet of buses and it would be done in a phased manner.
The government said 1,000 buses would be rolled out in May in the first phase and in second phase another 1,000 buses would be inducted in September. In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the Delhi government said 1,000 electric buses would be rolled out in July.
“Electric buses being a new technology, a consultant was appointed to suggest the appropriate technology. Initial techno-financial assessment report has been received on January 10 and various clarifications have been sought. The final report is expected shortly. Immediately thereafter, decision on the recommendation will be put before the minister in charge of transport and it will be circulated for inter-departmental consultation. Most likely, the final proposal will be placed before the council of Ministers within the month of February itself to take action to float tenders for 1,000 electric buses,” the affidavit said.
The bench, after a brief hearing, allowed the plea of Delhi government and extended the time for procurement of buses. “Hopefully we will have electric buses this year,” the bench said.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police told the bench that all steps were being taken to decongest 77 identified corridors in the city. It said 620 tasks have been identified for ensuring smooth movements of traffic on those corridors, of which 163 tasks had been completed. It said work on 278 tasks was going on and would soon be completed.