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Fresh training for Blueline drivers

Continuing its drive against the 'killer' Blueline buses, the Delhi Govt on Monday impounds 50 buses and asks all drivers to obtain fresh driving training certificates.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 09, 2007 08:05 PM IST

Continuing its drive against the "killer" Blueline buses, the Delhi government on Monday impounded 50 buses and asked all drivers to obtain fresh driving training certificates.

After a meeting with Delhi Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna, Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf said: "We have asked Blueline bus drivers to obtain a fresh driving training certificate to drive on the city roads.

"They need to take fresh training from the Driving Training Institute and those who fail will not be given permission to drive," Yusuf told reporters.

In the first half of this year, at least 58 people have lost their lives due to the rash and negligent driving of Blueline buses.

Four people were killed by these private-run buses in the past week alone, leading to widespread protests.

Delhi has about 4,200 Blueline buses, Yusuf said, adding that nearly 8,000 bus drivers would have to go in for fresh training within 15 days.

"The esteemed Lt Governor expressed his concern over the death of so many people and reiterated our commitment to phase out Blueline buses in the near future," the minister added.

"The transport department has been directed to cancel the permit of buses and invalidate drivers' licenses for breaking road rules. Just to get more passengers they over speed and finally kill innocent people," he added.

The minister said the department would call a meeting of all Blueline bus operators and ask them to register themselves as a company. "This corporatisation will bring in the culture of accountability," he said.

The government is also planning to introduce the kilometre scheme where the transport department would fix the number of kilometres a bus can ply per day.

On July 1, a Blueline bus mowed down 11-year-old Morick Sharma after running over nearly a dozen vehicles in Raja Garden. At the time of accident, the killer bus was at a speed of 80 kmph.

On the same day, Sikandar, 20, was crushed to death by a Blueline in Kotwali in north Delhi. While a 14-year-old schoolboy came under the tyres of a Blueline in Vikaspuri on Sunday, a speeding "killer" bus on Saturday crushed a cyclist and critically injured a pedestrian in Sultanpuri - both in west Delhi.

The Delhi government is now planning to phase out all Blueline buses from the city roads and replace them with DTC buses. It has promised to incorporate 1,000 new DTC buses within a year. In the last 10 days, the permits of 650 Blueline buses have been cancelled.

On Monday, one person was killed and at least 24 schoolchildren injured when the van taking them to the Kendriya Vidyalaya in east Delhi's Preet Vihar locality overturned. Suleiman, 50, the guardian of one of the students, lost his life in the accident.

Reacting to the development, Yusuf said: "It's an unfortunate incident and I have asked for a detailed report. Once I get it, action will be taken against the culprit."

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