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Workshop, depot managers suspended

Concerned that its modern fleet of buses were not properly maintained, the Delhi government on Thursday decided to depute expert engineers at each Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus depot to “closely monitor the fitness of buses”.

delhi Updated: Dec 04, 2009 01:31 IST
HT Correspondent

Concerned that its modern fleet of buses were not properly maintained, the Delhi government on Thursday decided to depute expert engineers at each Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus depot to “closely monitor the fitness of buses”.

“We will hire automobile engineers on contract as third party to oversee the maintenance of our fleet,” Delhi Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said.

The decision came after a low-floor bus caught fire near Moti Nagar in West Delhi on early Thursday.

Preliminary investigations suggested that the brake shoes of the left rear tyre of the bus had worn off.

“It jammed the rim of the wheel and caused sparks, leading to a fire in the bus,” Lovely said.

The minister accepted that it was clear case of lack of maintenance.

He held bus manufacturers Tata Motors, which are responsible for the maintenance of its buses, and the depot
shift manager, who let the bus go without carefully inspecting it, responsible for the
incident.

“We have told the bus manufacturers that even one such incident in future will force us to reconsider our contract with them,” said Lovely.

“We have suspended the depot shift manager as well as the workshop manager of Tata Motors for negligence.”

“We have also asked the DTC to initiate penalty provisions as per the agreement clause and have also asked the company to
replace the bus at
their cost.”

The Delhi government also appointed a committee of four technical experts to see the quality of the maintenance of its buses.

The team, headed by joint commissioner (transport) Ajay Chagti, would have Balraj Bhanot (former director, Automobile Research Association of India, V.K. Bhatia (chief general manager (technical) DTC, and Anil Chikara (technical expert and motor licensing officer) as its members.

“The expert committee will submitted its report within a month. It will help us assess how these bus manufacturers are maintaining the fleet,” said Lovely.

Meanwhile, Tata Motors have also initiated an inquiry into Thursday’s incident in which 12 passengers had a narrow escape when a low-floor bus caught fire in Moti Nagar in West Delhi.

“This bus was delivered in 2008 and in its one year of operations this bus has reported no problem,” Tata Motors' head of corporate communications Debashish Ray said.

“We are now trying to ascertain the reasons that led to the incident.”

Apart from Tata engineers stationed in the Capital, experts from the company’s research team have also been told to join the investigations, he added.

Tata Motors has to supply 2,031 of the total of 3,125 low-floor buses that Delhi has to get by March 31, 2010.