Delhi Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami on Friday said the government has requisitioned 100 Home Guards, from the nearly 5,000 it has placed with the Delhi Police, for the purpose of securing the 89 night service buses of the Delhi Transport Corporation.
“Last night from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. all these buses plied under the security of the Home Guards. Of the 89 buses, 76 are low-floor buses while 13 are standard chassis vehicles that would be plying in Outer Delhi areas like Bawana and Kanjhawala. These buses have started plying on 22 routes at a frequency of 10 to 50 minutes,” he said.
To boost the confidence of the travelling public, the Government has also issued directions to ensure that the drivers, conductors and Home Guards wear their badges in a way that they remain visible. “The Chief Minister also wants the names of all the bus staff to be printed on the uniforms and necessary directions have been issued.”
The Minister said the Delhi Government is also considering deploying more Home Guards on the evening services. “That would be in the next stage as for that we would be requiring around 3,000 personnel.”
Mr. Goswami said security of the women passengers was of utmost importance for him. He said the DTC has 42 bus depots and around 2,000 prepared bus queue shelters out of a total of 4278 stops.
Deployment of Home Guards on all of these bus shelters is not on the cards right now, but is in the realms of possibility to provide a safe and secure travelling environment to the general public and women in particular. However, that would require withdrawal of Home Guards from the Delhi Police for their deployment on the streets. For the time being though, Mr. Goswami said efforts are being made to ensure proper lighting at all the bus stops.
With the Delhi Police criticising the Transport Department for allowing the bus used in the gang-rape of the physiotherapy student despite its repeated impounding for various offences, Mr. Goswami said: “If any official is found in the wrong, the Government would take strong action in the matter”. He, however, also advised the Delhi Police to “increase its credibility”.
Since the recent gang-rape case took place in a contract carriage bus, Mr. Goswami said instructions have also been issued to get all the bus staff members verified. “The Public Service Vehicle (PSV) badges would be issued to all the drivers and conductors after proper police verification.”
“We would also be organising special camps at all the 13 offices of the Motor Licensing Officers for the purpose. It has been decided that for being a DTC driver the minimum educational qualification would be Class 10 pass while for being driver of a private bus it would be Class 12 pass. All those applying for the PSV badges would also have to be residents of Delhi,” the Minister said.