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Federation of Delhi Bus operators challenges Delhi HC order

The Delhi High Court’s order to the transport authorities to register only low-floor buses in the capital has been challenged in the apex court, reports Satya Prakash.

delhi Updated: Apr 18, 2007 02:58 IST

The Delhi High Court’s order to the transport authorities to register only low-floor buses in the capital has been challenged in the apex court.

On a joint petition filed by the Federation of Delhi Bus Operators and bus manufacturer TATA against the High Court’s March 26 order, the Supreme Court has issued notices to the Union Transport Ministry, Delhi Transport Department, Delhi Traffic Police and other agencies seeking their response within two weeks.

Taking note of the recommendations of a court-appointed committee headed by Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, the High Court had directed that “all local buses by whomsoever they are running under the permit or otherwise, shall be low floor buses and only such vehicles will be registered by the authorities. This will also be a condition in the permit issued by the State Transport Authority,” it had said.

Low-floor buses having bigger front screen and driver’s seat at a lower level are considered less accident-prone. The court had also taken note of the fact that the five low-floor buses introduced by the Delhi Transport Corporation in November 2005 and another one a year later never met with any accident.

However, Federation of Delhi Bus Operators’ President HS Kalra told Hindustan Times that the order could not be retrospective effect. “Before the High Court order, the operators had already purchased 180 buses and these buses are not being registered now. Where do they go now? They all have taken loans from various financial institutions and are paying back the installments.”

He pointed out that “the buses meet all the existing requirements under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules. Since these are CNG buses we can not sell it anywhere else.”

Kalra said as on date there were no standards prescribed for low-floor buses and the Technical Standing Committee under the Central Motor Vehicles Rules was still deliberating upon it.

In fact the High Court had directed the Committee to approve and notify the changes in bus body specifications within three months for medium and high capacity buses, intra-urban buses, long-distance buses and special purpose buses (school buses, sleepers and tourist buses).

In fact, one of the schools, K R Mangalam School too has challenged the High Court’s order as the vehicles made by Swaraj Mazda and purchased by it on March three were not being registered.

What is low-floor bus?

Low-floor buses are in tune with the international practices and designs and are considered to be less accident-prone, as the driver sits in a sufficiently advantageous position at a lower level giving him greater visibility. It is also disabled-friendly with place for two whelchairs.

These buses have 390-mm floor height, pneumatic doors, rear engine, tubeless tyres, low driver seating, and enhanced upward and downward visibility for the driver.

Generally, buses have a body fabricated on a chassis. But the low-floor buses are chassis and body together. The DTC has already invited tenders for 625 such buses.

First Published: Apr 18, 2007 02:57 IST