Five days after a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus carrying more than 35 school students caught fire, the environment and pollution control authority (EPCA) has asked the DTC to phase out old buses.
EPCA is a Supreme Court appointed body to advise it on the environment related issues.
“We have asked the DTC to withdraw all buses that have outlived their lives — eight years and five lakh kilometres. Meanwhile, such buses should not be deployed on school duty,” said EPCA chairman Bhure Lal.
Delhi transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said each bus coming out of the depot will now have a sticker on its windshield that it was checked against CNG leakage.
On November 26, a DTC bus caught fire near Vasundhara Enclave in East Delhi. A day later, a blueline bus caught fire at Mehrauli in South Delhi.
DTC managing director Naresh Kumar said in both cases a stone apparently hit the regulator of the CNG cylinders, which are installed beneath the chassis in old buses, leading to leakage.
"Though there is a protection plate installed to save CNG-cylinders, it was not properly screwed. The silencer pipe, which also passes close to the cylinder, is generally very hot” Kumar said.
In a meeting with senior officials of the transport department and bus manufactures, EPCA chairman Bhure Lal also asked for a joint inspection of the entire fleet of DTC and private buses.
"We will complete inspection of all buses by Sunday," said Kumar.
Smoke billowed out of yet another brand-new low floor DTC bus on Monday morning near Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in central Delhi.
The bus was plying between Dwarka and New Delhi railway station.
“The lid of the cylinder that contains the steering lubricant became loose. As the oil heated, it displaced the lid and spilled on the engine and smoke billowed," DTC managing director Naresh Kumar said.
"There was absolutely no fire in the bus," Kumar added.