Staff Reporter

Sheila Dikshit urged to ensure “optimum safety” measures in buses

NEW DELHI: Former MLA and BJP leader Vijay Jolly who had petitioned the Lok Ayukta on the high cost of the low floor buses purchased by the Delhi Government has following the March 30 fire incident in one such bus urged Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to ensure “optimum safety” measures in all low floor buses so that the safety of passengers is not compromised.

Mr. Jolly said since the Delhi Government had drawn up plans to take the number of such buses to nearly 10,000 in Delhi, it was essential that all safety measures were put in place. In an additional affidavit filed before the Lok Ayukta, he has also drawn his attention to the bizarre fire incident in which a bus was completely gutted recently and the passengers miraculously managed to escape in time by breaking the windows as the doors had got jammed.

Stating that there could have been a major loss of life in the March 30 fire incident as the passengers had got trapped after the fire started near the engine in the front and the doors got jammed because the wired got damaged, Mr. Jolly said there is an urgent need to ensure installation of fire-retardant wires and other material in all the buses to protect the passengers.

The BJP leader has also noted with concern that while the complaint was filed in the office of Lok Ayukta Justice Man Mohan Sarin of Delhi in October 2008 and he had subsequently issued notice to Delhi Transport Corporation and Delhi Government, directing DTC to produce records relating to issuance and processing of tenders for purchase of 625 non-AC low-floor buses, the Delhi Government had instead of producing the demanded records, approached Delhi High Court for a stay of proceedings before the Lok Ayukta.

However, Delhi High Court Justice S. Ravindra Bhat observed that “the NCT need not have stood on prestige, as its stated position is that it has nothing to hide. Such being the sentiment, the truth of the matter should have been its primary concern rather than insisting on a ruling on procedure before disclosure of the records which all citizens are reasonably expected to have access to under the Right to Information regime. The upshot of all this has been a wholly avoidable debate that can have the potential of undermining the public interest in an objective inquiry into such matters”.