Wednesday, April 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Commuters torch 6 buses
CNG crisis deepens 
* SC pulls up Delhi Govt

Our Correspondent

New Delhi, April 3
There was violence on the streets of the Capital today as the transport crisis deepened and angry commuters torched six buses and damaged several others.

After waiting for hours for buses, people became violent and torched six public transport buses, including one Haryana Roadways bus in the Badarpur area of South Delhi, and damaged windowpanes of 15 buses in different districts of the Capital.

The police fired three rounds in the air to disperse the mob. However, nobody from public was injured while eight police personnel received wounds while controlling mob. Four cases of rioting have been registered in this connection. The Supreme Court did not grant any immediate relief as sought by the Delhi Government to prevent the crisis from getting out of control. But the state government, at an emergency Cabinet meeting, decided to allow those buses to ply on the roads from tomorrow, which have given an affidavit to opt for the CNG.

The permits would be issued to them by April 15. And, the Delhi Government’s urgent application before the apex court would come up for hearing tomorrow.

Schools and offices, which reopened after a two-day holiday, reported thin attendance. While many chose to stay indoors, some were forced to do so as very few CNG buses plied on the roads. Many travelled on bus rooftops to reach their workplace.

Though the academic session of schools was scheduled to start today, many schools had declared holiday to prevent hardship to the students.

Narender said, “I left my child to school in the morning, but the problem is picking him in afternoon. My wife has taken leave from her office so that she can reach in time to collect pick him.” Though most of the bus owners have given an affidavit to opt for the CNG, the delay in issuing permit by the state Transport Department has virtually stranded the commuters on the bus stands.

“If the Supreme Court could work till midnight to cope with the work pressure, why cannot the Delhi Government rise to the occasion?” the Supreme Court observed.

The Chief Justice said the court has worked till midnight in the past three days to receive 27,442 applications from the bus and three-wheeler operators and of these 15,000 applications have already been sorted out.

Referring to the July 28, 1998, order, the Chief Justice said, “What the operators did in the last three days of March, why could not they do it in the three-year period?”

Only a fraction of the 12,000-strong bus fleet and 55,000 auto-rickshaws were plying on the roads today.

The Transport Department has expressed that it is unable to issue more than 4,000 permits in a day.

Anil, who works with a private firm said, “I have been waiting four hours at the Badarpur bus stand for a bus for Connaught Place. Since I was getting late, I had take an auto to office.”

In a move to score political point, the BJP-led union government blamed the Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi for the transport crisis in the Capital.

Dismissing the allegations of the Delhi Government, about the shortage of supply of the CNG, Petroleum Minister Ram Naik said adequate arrangement had been made by PSUs under his ministry. “We are operating at only 50 per cent of the total capacity set for the purpose”, he said.Back

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