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Blueline death rattle won’t stop

Last year Blueline buses killed 120 people in the Capital even as the Delhi Govt kept floating its grand ideas to “phase out” the killer fleet, reports Sidhartha Roy.

delhi Updated: Feb 19, 2008 01:06 IST
Sidhartha Roy
Sidhartha Roy
Hindustan Times

Last year Blueline buses killed 120 people in the Capital even as the Delhi government kept floating its grand ideas to “phase out” the killer fleet. On Monday, a killer Blueline again snuffed out a life and devastated a family. The government, as usual, is deliberating on its latest plan to rein in the speed devils.

The government now says that it will take at least eight more months for its latest plan to fructify and the complete phase out is about two years away. The plan, by the way, is to divide all bus routes in the city into 17 clusters where one corporate body or bus cooperative would run buses along with the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).

The government expects this plan to kill competition among buses which leads to reckless driving and the cooperatives could also be held responsible for accidents. “We are working very hard on the project and by the first week of March, we would bring out bid document for the clusters,” Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf told HT. “There would be 17 clusters and each would be given to a corporate or a cooperative of bus owners. They would be held responsible for accidents and would be blacklisted,” he said.

The plan has been prepared by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS), a special purpose vehicle floated by the Transport Department. While DIMTS took its own time in working out the modalities, don’t expect the Blueline bus drivers to become responsible citizens anytime soon.

The transport minister said the plan would get operational only by October this year. “We plan to complete the phase out by 2009,” he said.

While the Delhi government has been never found wanting in making the right noises, the fate of its earlier plans puts a doubt on whether the ‘cluster’ plan would end the Blueline menace. Following public outrage after a Blueline bus mowed down 11-year-old Morick Sharma in Raja Garden on July 1, 2007, the government ordered training of drivers, carried out a farcical drive, floated different proposals to phase out the killer fleet but nothing happened on the ground and the killing spree continues unabated.

Bluelines buses have caused one death about every third day in this year. Perhaps it would take some more deaths to jolt the government out of its slumber.

12-yr-old injured

A 12-year-old boy was injured when he came under the wheels of a Blueline bus while alighting in East Delhi on Monday. Police said the boy’s parents were with him when the mishap took place. The victim has been identified as Kailash and his condition is said to be stable. The driver of the Blueline bus, Surender, has been arrested.

The boy’s father is a daily wager and they live in Dullupura area in New Ashok Nagar. The bus, plying between Bhajanpura and Sector 37 in Noida, was impounded. A case of rash and negligent driving was registered against the driver.