Delhi govt proposals miss the bus

Sisodia had set April 30 deadline for Cabinet approval for electric, cluster bus proposals

May 10, 2018 01:33 am | Updated 01:33 am IST

  Off track:  Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot during the trial of an electric bus in 2017.

Off track: Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot during the trial of an electric bus in 2017.

Two Delhi government proposals to add a combined total of 2,000 new buses to the Capital’s public transport network missed their deadline for approval from the Cabinet, which met on Wednesday. The proposals were not on the agenda.

The proposals to procure or engage 1,000 electric buses and 1,000 CNG buses, both under the cluster scheme, were supposed to have got Cabinet approval by April 30, according to the timeline presented by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in his Budget for 2018-2019.

Since the Cabinet had not had a meeting since late March, the two proposals were expected to be placed on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting. Government sources said, both proposals had been readied in time, but did not make it to the agenda.

When asked about the status of the proposals, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said they were “on track”.

“As far as the electric buses are concerned, it is the first proposal of its kind to be prepared by any government in Delhi. Given its significance, several departments need to be on the same page, which is taking some time to accomplish. We are confident that the Cabinet’s approval will be secured within a week to 10 days,” Mr. Gahlot told The Hindu .

The Minister added that comments on the electric buses proposal had been received from around half a dozen Delhi government departments and were being addressed.

Sources in government departments said that the proposal had been circulated among the Environment, Finance and Planning, Power and Law Departments and the relevant comments had been included in the proposal.

‘Being examined’

According to an official in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation, however, the proposal was still being examined and comments from some departments had been sought.

The delay in the Cabinet approving the proposals led to the BJP attacking the AAP government on Wednesday. Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta said in a statement that the government’s deadlines had “gone haywire” and that it seemed to be “wavering on its bus procurement timeline”.

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