In the fight against corruption, neither the government nor India Against Corruption (IAC) members seem to have benefited as much as the rickety old buses of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).
While Delhiites shunned them, the transport department managed to rope in some Rs. 16.4 lakh in just a month by giving them away to the Delhi police. A total of 274 buses were hired by the Delhi police in August.
They were to be used to ferry protesters during Ramdev’s agitation, Arvind Kejriwal’s recent protest at Jantar Mantar and the march outside the Prime Minister’s residence.
"During Ramdev's protest, more than 100 buses were hired by the Delhi police and during Kejriwal's, they asked for 50 more. Though we generally don't make such arrangements, we decided to go against the protocol for maintaining law and order in the city. So, we gave them the old buses," a senior Delhi government official informed.
The transport department charges around Rs. 40 per kilometre, which on an average comes to Rs. 6,000 per day.
According to sources, these old DTC buses are unable to make enough revenue even after making a number of such trips everyday. With this move, however, the money came in rather easily.
"When the police hire these buses, they generally station them at one place or another, they are hardly required to move. We made a considerably good sum in August with these buses," said a senior Delhi government official.
Also during Ramdev's protest, the Delhi police had planned to take the protesters to outer Delhi but due to resistance from the protesters, the buses barely moved a kilometer. But the pre-determined sum had to be paid to the Delhi government.
"During such protests, we require buses to detain protesters and hiring DTC buses is one of our first preferences" said a senior Delhi police official.
The yellow and green buses had become synonymous with Delhi’s public transport ever since the DTC came into existence in 1971.
It was only in 2002 when these buses began running on CNG.
From 3,500 old DTC buses that used to run on city routes, the number has come down to 1,808 now. Sources said these buses should have been out of service by now. Since scrapping these redundant buses would create a gap, the DTC is still using them.