One of the 100-day promises of the United Progressive Alliance government has already overshot its target, without yielding much result.
Of the 15,220 buses sanctioned for 61 cities covered under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in February 2009, just 2,781 have been delivered, as per the latest figures.
However, the number for 2009 may yet go up, as more figures will be available in January.
“These buses will be delivered by December 2009,” the 100-day agenda of the Ministry of Urban Development had said. Just a fifth of the number have been delivered.
The Centre sanctioned a certain number of buses for each city and released half its share — the Centre funds 50 percent of the cost of the buses — as advance. It got weekly reports from cities, with copies of bus purchase orders to decide whether to release another instalment.
Till now, 13,800 orders have been placed by states, part of the cause of the delay. The companies supplying the buses include TATA, Ashok Leyland, Eicher Motors, Volvo and Swaraj Mazda.
There is another reason, too, for the delay: bus manufacturers have taken more than the expected time to supply the buses.
“Industry was not geared to supply buses,” said a senior official of the Ministry, not wishing to be named.
“If we can compress the time to make a scheme and release the money to some months, why can’t they deliver the buses timely?”
Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mysore and Mumbai already have JNNURM-funded buses on the roads.
Delhi – which had not sent the Ministry purchase orders of a single bus till many months after the scheme’s announcement in February 2009 -- is yet to see this fleet taking to the roads, said an official.
The bus-funding offer by the Centre was a one-time offer as part of the second economic stimulus package to revive the automobile industry at the height of the meltdown.