Delhi’s transport minister Gopal Rai on Thursday said there was a conspiracy to disturb the second phase of the odd-even car rationing initiative and cited a series of incidents to back him claim.
Rai said the proposed auto strike, breakdown of buses in the middle of odd-even and a sudden increase in the number of vehicles hinted at sabotage.
“First there was an attempt by a section of auto drivers to go on strike. This failed but during the first few days of odd-even, we noticed a steep rise in cases of breakdown of buses. These were hired specifically for odd-even 2. The drivers were taking money not to complete the trips,” said Rai.
Before odd-even phase-2, around 250 vases of bus breakdown were reported every day. This increased to 450 on April 15 and 16. After the government intervened, the number came down to 150 per day, he said.
“We formed a central control room to check the breakdowns. We have received a recording of a driver asking for R10,000 to stop a bus in between the trip. An enquiry has been ordered,” Rai added.
The minister said that traffic volume has suddenly increased at some places and when investigated, it was found that most vehicles were from outside Delhi.
“The number of vehicles registered in Delhi during odd-even has gone down. In four months before odd-even, from September to December 2015, 214,394 vehicles were registered in Delhi. In the next four months, from January to April 14, 163,907 vehicles were registered,” Rai said.
But vehicles converting to CNG had doubled in this period. From September to December 2015, 5,463 vehicles had converted to CNG. The number increased to 12,126 from January to April 14, he said.
“During the first phase of odd-even, we had distributed 3.90 lakh CNG stickers for vehicles in Delhi and NCR. In the second phase, 20,000 stickers were distributed,” Rai added.
Rai has commissioned a study of the points where the number of cars has suddenly increased. A team will check if people had started buying second-hand cars.
“We will prepare case studies as the volume of traffic is increasing at a few points. Many of them are commercial vehicles registered outside Delhi. We need to find out where these cars are coming from,” Rai said.
“We are not sure whether all these incidents are related and planned to sabotage government’s initiative but there could be a possibility. That is why we are investigating every aspect,” he said.