12,000 buses on city roads by Dec. 2024: Kejriwal

Delhi’s bus fleet will have 1,950 new buses — 1,500 electric and 450 CNG AC — by September 2023. This was announced by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal following a slew of decisions taken during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The delivery of the buses will begin in August-September this year, said Mr. Kejriwal.

“Earlier the biggest problem in Delhi was lack of buses as they were not procured for many years. We have changed this over the last few years and at present, there are more than 7,200 vehicles in the public bus fleet of Delhi. This is the highest-ever number of buses in the city. Delhi needs about 11,000 to 12,000 buses; we will achieve this target by December 2024,” the Chief Minister said.

Giving details of the Cabinet decisions, Mr. Kejriwal said the government will soon issue tenders to buy 4,880 more buses and by December 2024, 11,910 buses will be running on Delhi roads. Considering Delhi’s weather and people’s comfort, the government is concentrating on buying air-conditioned electric buses, he added.

“Our current goal is to modernise the entire transportation network in accordance with international standards. We need to combine and modernise our various modes of transport, which include the metro and taxis. The transport industry will now be the centre of our attention,” said Mr. Kejriwal.

Lauding the decision, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot tweeted, “Huge congrats to Delhi! Delhi Cabinet has given its nod for 1,950 Low Floor AC state-of-the-art buses. Delhi’s bus fleet is growing more than ever & in less than 2 years we’ll have highest electric bus fleet ever.”

Hitting out at AAP, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said Mr. Kejriwal was taking credit for 150 electric buses that were given by the Centre under the FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid vehicles) scheme.

“While issuing fresh tenders for 4,800 new buses, Kejriwal should also inform that the buses plying on city roads have outlived their age. Also, ₹500 crore was given for the repair of 1,000 buses when new buses could be bought for the same amount. But if a government’s aim is to make money through corruption, [they] would hardly be bothered about people’s problems,” said Mr. Gupta.

Urban farming plan

The Delhi Cabinet also approved ‘Smart Urban Farming Initiative’ under which the government will train citizens to grow fruits and vegetables for self-consumption and to promote entrepreneurial ventures in an urban setting. Mr. Kejriwal said experts will be hired under the scheme and the government will tie up with Indian Agricultural Research Institute for imparting special training. “As many as 400 awareness workshops and 600 entrepreneurship training programmes will be organised across Delhi under the initiative. We hope that about 25,000 families in the city will benefit from the initiative in its first year,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

The government said urban farming is a unique project where people from all walks of life can start small-scale farming of fruits and vegetables in their balconies and terraces. Citizens will be trained to grow the plants. “To promote the scheme, we will support urban farmers with seeds and other essentials,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

Relief for poor

The Chief Minister also announced the Cabinet’s decision to continue providing free ration to the underprivileged residents of the city till September 30, citing “backbreaking” inflation and loss of livelihood in the pandemic. The government has been supplying ration for free to almost 73 lakh citizens since April 2020.

“The government offers ration at a nominal rate from ration shops. However, for the last few years we have been giving ration for free. We have extended this scheme till September 30,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 5:26:55 pm |