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Lovely maintains deafening silence on Bluelines.

THE worst fears about Delhi's killer bus fleet getting an extended run may be about to come true.

On Wednesday, government sources confirmed that transport minister Arvinder Singh Lovely had sought the opinion of his department's officials as well as those of the Delhi Transport Corporation ( DTC) on induction of Blueline buses under the kilometre scheme.

Apart from this Monday huddle in which Lovely was present, officials have held several brainstorming sessions on the matter. But considering the propensity of Bluelines to snuff out lives on the city's streets, they are not broaching the issue in public.

What lends further credence to the belief that efforts are on to give the buses a backdoor entry is Lovely's refusal to speak to Mail Today for the second successive day. A transport department official said the Blueline bus owners' lobby appeared to be putting pressure on the government to prevent the phase- out of the fleet.

Sources said the permit- holders of these buses were influential persons, including politicians and police officers.

It was, therefore, not surprising that the government would back them, an official source said.

Finally, the authorities would allow the buses to continue operating on the pretext that they were vital for fulfilling the Capital's transportation needs, the source added. It was felt that they could also be given the garb of legitimacy by bringing them under the DTC's control.

" The fact is that these buses have been rented to private contractors for ` 4000- 5000 per day, depending on the routes.

Many of the buses are built illegally on truck chassis. Furthermore, drivers are pushed to deviate to profitable routes and tamper with speed governors to maximise trips, which leads to rash driving," an official of the transport department said.

S. N. Pandey, a Supreme Court advocate, was also of the view that the Delhi government didn't have courage to phase out these buses. " Many legislators themselves own these buses. The government makes statements pertaining to taking Blueline buses off the roads only under court pressure or as a face- saving exercise.

Actually, there is no will to act," Pandey said.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Dec 6, 2010
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