JNNURM buses mere fuel guzzlers

  • Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 22, 2014 13:23 IST

Buses procured under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme are proving to be fuel-guzzlers. With fuel efficiency at less than claimed, these buses, during the past three years have cost the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) more than Rs 5.52 crore in inflated fuel bills.

As per official figures, CTU at present has a fleet of 315 buses, against the sanctioned strength of 517, of which 100 buses have been funded under the JNNURM scheme. In a detailed project report (DPR) submitted on funding of buses under the JNNURM scheme, the CTU had projected the fuel efficiency of semi-low floor non-AC buses at 3km per liter (kmpl) and 2.5 kmpl for low-floor AC buses.

Scrutiny of records by the audit department disclosed that the kmpl of both semi-low floor and low-floor buses between 2011 and 2013 had been lesser than projected mileage.

In 2011, the JNNURM buses consumed 2,13,148 litre more diesel worth more than Rs 75.51 lakh. The following year, these buses consumed 4,98,015 litre of more fuel for which CTU had to shell out more than Rs 1.9 crore. In the subsequent year, 5,42,627 liter of excess diesel was exhausted at a cost of more than Rs 2.35 crore.

In 2011, CTU spent Rs 38.99 crore on purchase of diesel for its entire fleet of buses. In 2012 and 2013, Rs 44.39 crore and Rs 53.11 crore, was spent for the same.

The audit department pointed out that though there was apparent excess consumption of diesel as compared to projected, the authorities failed to analyse the reasons for the excess consumption with an aim to take remedial measures.

Despite repeated attempts, transport director TPS Phoolka was not available for comment.
While explaining the reasons, Mohar Singh, president, CTU Workers’ Union, said buses procured under the JNNURM were very heavy and big in size and were not fit for local bus service. “These buses are not meant for local routes. They are viable only on long routes,” said Mohar Singh.

He further said only mini-buses should ply on local routes as they consumed less fuel and were easy to maneuver in city traffic. “In contrary to low floor (400 mm) buses, mini-buses also have very low accident rate,” claimed Mohar.

Last year, the union ministry of urban development had sanctioned 400 more buses for Chandigarh under JNNURM on conditions, such as formation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) and installation of intelligent transport system (ITS). CTU has started the process of procuring new buses under the scheme.

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