All buses comply with emission standards of Euro IV, made mandatory for 11 cities. The 400 regular, semi-low floor buses will come from Tata Motors while an equal number will will be inducted later this year.
After almost one and a half years, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will get 600 new buses, of which 200 will be air-conditioned coaches. They will augment the fleet by July this year.
Sources in the corporation told The Hindu that BMTC has started trial operations with Corona low-floor air-conditioned bus, which will be inducted into the fleet gradually. The 400 regular, semi-low floor buses will come from Tata Motors while an equal number will will be inducted later this year.
The Corona buses, built on monocoque platform, will cost the corporation about Rs. 65 lakh each and the regular ones, Rs. 23 lakh each, the sources said. Half the regular buses will be supplied fully built and the rest as chassis on which BMTC will have to build the bodies.
Euro IV compliant
All these buses comply with the emission standards of Euro IV, which has been made mandatory for 11 cities, including Bangalore, by the Union Government.
While BMTC officials claim that non-availability of Euro IV buses in the market was the reason for non-procurement of buses during 2010-11, sources attribute it to the tiff between BMTC and two major bus suppliers, Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors.
BMTC had levied about Rs. 32 crore penalty on the two bus manufacturing giants for delayed supply and technical defects in buses. Even though the corporation had invited tenders for supply of buses in 2010-11, the two reportedly stayed away from the bidding process.
Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland had petitioned the Transport Minister that the penalty was not justified and pleaded for refund. Minutes of the BMTC board meeting chaired by the Transport Minister R. Ashok, who is also BMTC Chairperson, showed that the manufacturers had threatened not to participate in the tender process for supply of buses to BMTC this year if their demand was not met.
The corporation had procured 1,000 fully built semi-low floor buses from these two manufacturers under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) at a cost of Rs. 323.82 crore. The manufacturers, BMTC says, had not only defaulted in meeting the deadline but their vehicles came with several technical defects. Accordingly, BMTC had levied a penalty of Rs. 28.53 crore on Tata Motors and Rs. 3.3 crore on Leyland.
Of the Rs. 28.53-crore penalty on Tata Motors, BMTC had refunded a part of the amount, which was appropriated against technical defects. Tata Motors, however, had demanded further refund of Rs. 16.24 crore levied towards delayed supply. Ashok Leyland too had demanded refund of Rs. 3.3 crore.
The sources said that now that the process of refunding the penalty had been initiated, the bus manufacturers have come forward to supply the vehicles. However, Ashok Leyland did not participate in the latest tendering process as it was not in a position to supply Euro IV complaint buses.