The safety of passengers travelling in Delhi Transport Corporation's (DTC) low floor buses has once again come under the scanner.
In two separate incidents on Saturday, two of these state-of-the-art buses reportedly caught fire. No one was injured.
DTC later clarified there was no incident of fire but only smoke billowing out of the buses. This is the fourth such incident within a month.
On Saturday, the first incident was reported from Pul Prahladpur area of southeast Delhi around 9.25 am on Saturday. Fire officials said there was a spark in the engine and “there was lot of smoke”.
“We received a call around 9.25 a.m. about a bus that had caught fire. Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot,” a fire official said.
Police said a passenger informed the bus driver about the smoke coming out from the engine.
In a press statement, DTC said the driver of the bus, plying between Badarpur and Gurgaon, noticed coolant vapours emanating from the vehicle’s engine at Lal Kuan.
The driver stopped the bus and found the coolant was dripping on a hot surface.
“After changing the affected pipe and spark plug, the bus was sent on line,” the statement said.
The second incident was reported near the Akshardham temple in east Delhi when the rear tyres of a low floor bus got jammed, fire officials said.
The incident was reported around noon. As the tyres jammed, there was lot of smoke due to the friction and a call was made to the police control room (PCR).
DTC said the rear right wheel of the bus operating from Anand Parbat to Noida got overheated.
“The driver along with the public poured water and cooled the rim. There was no fire,” a DTC statement said.
The Delhi government had appointed a committee of four technical experts to see the quality of the maintenance of buses just 10 days ago. The committee will submit its report within a month.
Delhi’s transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely couldn’t be contacted over the phone despite repeated attempts.
“The low floor buses used by DTC are carrying more weight than their capacity, they are heavy and overbuilt and not up to the mark by international standards,” said S.P. Singh of the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training.
“These buses were supposed to be built of fire retardant material. Then how can they be gutted within minutes of a fire?" he said.