Following another fire in a low-floor Delhi Transport Corporation bus in Moti Nagar here on Thursday, the Delhi Government swung into action and hauled up Tata Motors which is responsible for the maintenance of these buses. It also constituted a four-member committee to look into the causes of mishaps involving the newly-acquired buses.
This was the second fire incident in a low-floor bus in the recent past. The latest fire broke out in the rear part of the bus, plying between Janakpuri and Inderlok metro rail station, around 6 a.m. A shoe-brake rubbing against the rear tyre generated friction leading to the fire.
The driver noticed smoke and rushed out of the bus along with the passengers and crew.
Following the incident, Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely convened a high-level meeting in which it was decided to set up the four-member committee headed by the Joint Commissioner (Transport) to look into the causes of the fire accidents involving DTC low-floor buses and to suggest ways to prevent such mishaps in future.
The Minister said the committee headed by Ajay Chakti would also include a chief general manager of the DTC, a motor licensing officer and a retired director of a research institute. The committee has been given a month to submit its report.
The DTC, he said, had been directed to have an automobile engineer on contract at every depot for ensuring proper maintenance of low-floor buses.
“I have taken strong note of this incident and hauled up Tata Motors for poor upkeep of the vehicles. They have been told to improve their performance in keeping with their track record or else we will be compelled to review the contract,’’ he warned.
Stating that the problem was not with the buses but their maintenance, Mr. Lovely said if a faulty brake-shoe leads to a fire, then those in charge of maintenance are to be blamed.
“A team of Tata Motors has arrived from Lucknow to look into the incident. While a preliminary report has been received, they will conduct a detailed investigation into the incidents.’’
In view of the incident, Tata Motors, which has a 15-year contract for maintenance of low-floor buses, suspended its manager (workshop).
Mr. Lovely said the DTC has suspended its shift manager at the Mayapuri depot. This bus was one of the 100 low-floor buses which operate out of this depot.
“While the maintenance was with Tatas, it was the responsibility of the DTC shift manager too to ensure that the maintenance was taking place properly. We want to send out the message that these buses are absolutely safe for travel and that negligence in maintenance would not be tolerated,’’ he said.