The Delhi government on Monday threatened to initiate criminal proceedings against Tata Motors if another low-floor bus caught fire in future.
The government imposed a penalty of Rs 4 crore on the automobile giant and decided to withhold payment of Rs 150 crore against the delivery of 390 buses till the maintenance issues were sorted out.
Replying to a call attention motion in Delhi assembly, Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said only one low-floor bus had caught fire in the last couple of weeks.
“Due to lack of lubrication, a component called ‘bush’, which is made of plastic, got heated up in the buses and jammed the tyre. We have asked the bus manufacturers to use spray guns to lubricate such components,” Lovely said.
“All these buses are back on the road,” Lovely said in Assembly.
A low-floor non air-conditioned bus caught fire in the Capital on December 3 when one of its rear tyres burst.
Preliminary investigations suggested that the brake shoes of the tyre had worn off.
There were also some incidents of smoke coming out of five low-floor buses in the past few days.
Since all the buses developed similar technical problems, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the government had “strongly warned” Tata officials to ensure such incidents were not repeated.
“We will take very strong action against them if they fail to ensure proper maintenance of these buses. They are responsible for the maintenance of the buses and we will not tolerate any sort of negligence on their part,” she said.
Taking a strict view of past incidents, the government asked Tata Motors to carry out a comprehensive check of its 950 buses running on the road.
The check will include a thorough inspection of the electrical system, brakes, CNG kit and its pipeline and other vital components of the bus.
Lovely said the government had already decided to deploy independent automobile engineers at each depot. These engineers will check and authorise the buses to go out of the depot on its commercial trips.
“We have also asked the company to restructure its teams responsible for maintenance of buses at various DTC depots,” Lovely said.
The government-appointed four-member team has also initiated inspection of low-floor buses plying in Delhi.