The Delhi government takes pride in getting the city a fleet of ultra-modern red (air-conditioned) and green (non-AC) low-floor buses ahead of the Commonwealth Games. But the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found the government’s spending extravagant.
In its recent report on Delhi government, the CAG said the government purchased the buses at rates over and above the justified rate prepared by the technical committee of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).
According to the CAG report, the DTC purchased 3,156 AC and non-AC buses between 2004 and 2009.
“The purchase at more cost than justified would burden the exchequer by Rs 244.30 crore. There would be an additional outgo of Rs 833.30 crore on account of higher annual maintenance charges over the period of 12 years," said a CAG official, thus blowing the lid off a possible scam in procurement of the swanky buses.
The two bus manufacturers — Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland — will also maintain the fleet for the DTC for 12 years for which they have been provided with space in DTC's existing and upcoming bus depots to set up workshops.
Questioning the logic behind such a huge purchase of low floor buses, the CAG also pointed out that it might also be “unsuitable to ply these buses on the uneven and harsher terrains because of the low floors”.
The government’s decision to have ultra-modern and state-of-the-art features in these buses has also come under the CAG scanner. The audit found that the government released 15 per cent payment amounting to Rs 401.6 crore to the contractor against the service agreement.
The report also termed the recent hike in the bus fare “unscientific”. “The fare structure of the corporation, decided by the government, has no scientific basis as the normative cost, that is, cost under ideal normative conditions, has not been taken into account.”