In a major crackdown on unauthorised private buses, the Delhi government’s transport department on Friday night seized 52 buses plying illegally.
Similar action was taken against illegal buses after the December 16 gang rape that rocked the nation. The 23-year-old medical student who was raped and murdered had boarded a bus that was plying illegally.
The incident had caused an uproar and the public transport system came under scrutiny. But nothing much had changed and buses continued to ply illegally.
The transport department says things will improve with this crackdown.
“Why should we wait for an incident to happen to start challaning illegal vehicles. We noticed buses from Haryana, UP and Rajasthan picking up passengers from bus terminals of Delhi. On checking, they were found to be running without any permit,” said KK Dahiya, special commissioner (transport).
Over 50 teams of the transport department impounded buses from areas such as Dhaula Kuan, Peeragarhi, Anand Vihar and Sarai Kale Khan.
“The Anand Vihar bus terminal is a major area of operation for illegal buses. Since the UP government doesn’t own many buses, the illegal bus owners take over, especially at night. Most of the time, passengers are not aware that it is an illegal service. This can lead to crimes,” said a transport department official.
Sources said the transport department would write to the neighbouring state to run buses to prevent commuters from taking illegal buses.
“We will continue this drive till there are no illegal buses in operation. Apart from being a security concern, these buses are a threat to environment as they run on diesel,” Dahiya said.
Sources said since the transport department had not given an interstate permit to any bus in the past few years, most of them were running illegally. The buses were taking commuters to NCR towns and far-off areas.