Delhi

AAP government’s move to purchase buses fails again

For the 10th year running, the government of the day has failed to add more wheels to the Capital’s oldest means of mass public transportation. A tender floated by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) for the procurement of 1,000 standard-floor buses to its ailing fleet, government sources claimed, has failed – again.

Only one bidder, whom government sources described as a “prominent private player” from the transport sector, stepped up to sell the required number of vehicles to the public transporter between mid-March and early May. This development, according to government sources, has effectively thrown a spanner in the works in relation to competitive bidding which is a prerequisite when it comes to the tendering process followed by government departments.

Last successful tender

The last successful tender by the DTC, which materialised in the procurement of 1,875 non-AC low floor and 1,250-AC low floor buses, according to the government, was floated on January 30, 2008. Somewhat similarly, before the proposal got the nod of the Delhi Cabinet on May 18, tenders for the engagement of 1,034 non-AC and 260-AC buses under the cluster scheme, had last been floated in January, 2011.

Government sources claimed the Chief Secretary had, given the development, directed cancellation of the said bid and float a fresh tender. “A similar bid, for the procurement of 1,000 non-AC, standard floor CNG buses to be operated under the cluster scheme, has recently gone through but the DTC’s attempt is in doldrums,” a government source claimed.

“Given the fact that only one bidder has approached the DTC, the managing director of the DTC has been issued directions to cancel the current bid and float a fresh one as soon as possible. The floating of a new bid is expected soon after a decision to this effect is taken by the DTC Board, which is now headed by the Transport Minister, in the coming days,” the source further said.

Disabled-friendly issue

In a related development earlier this month, the Delhi government and the DTC had, on May 15, assured the Delhi High Court that they would not award any contract for standard-floor buses till May 23, following the court’s objections that these were not disabled-friendly.

The assurance was given as a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar appeared inclined to stay the entire tender floated on March 15 for procurement of 1,000 standard-floor buses. The Bench was of the view that the differently abled will not be able to access public transport as standard-floor buses are not easily accessible by the differently abled and the elderly.

According to government sources, however, the assurance was of no consequence now for the process which entailed receiving bids by May 11, 2018, followed by the opening of bids and finishing financial evaluation and the issuance of a work order by July 20.

The first batch of 40 buses was to arrive by November 20, 2018 and subsequently 120 buses were to arrive every month, for eight months adding up to another 960 buses on the streets of Delhi, till July, 2019.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 9:03:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/aap-governments-move-to-purchase-buses-fails-again/article24008741.ece

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