Court raps Tata, Ashok Leyland for delay in supplying buses


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday pulled up Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland for running way behind the prescribed schedule for supplying low-floor buses to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). The court even warned them of cancellation of contract.

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A division bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Manmohan Singh said: “We have to look for alternatives if they (Tata and Ashok Leyland) are not able to fulfill the order.”

The court’s stern remarks came when Ashok Leyland counsel informed the court that 203 buses were available for delivery but the DTC was not taking them. DTC counsel told the court these buses would not be taken before they pass the prescribed tests, and this takes some time.

A total of 3,124 low-floor buses are to be given to the DTC for phasing out the privately-owned Blueline buses from the capital roads by March.

DTC counsel informed the court that Ashok Leyland should have provided 875 buses till date but they supplied only 60.

On this the court said: “You pull up your socks and supply the buses or else we will look for other options. Failure to do so may leave no option but to cancel the contract.”

Tata Motors counsel assured the ccourt the company will supply 200 buses every month from the total 2,032 buses it has contracted for. Tata Motors has so far supplied 419 buses.

The court also took note of the fact that drivers were overburdened and said: “A major cause for the casualties on roads at the hands of the Blueline operators is over-speeding, which is a consequence of the efforts and intentions of effecting the maximum number of trips possible in a day. This problem can be ameliorated once a ceiling or cap on the number of trips permissible is prescribed by the State Transport Authority (STA).”

The court asked the state counsel to inform as to what can be done for prescribing the limit on the number of journeys by a bus in a day by Feb 2.

“This information is critical for the reason that drivers ought not to suffer from fatigue, which will inexorably lead to accidents, which will be the automatic consequence if their duty hours go beyond eight hours,” the court said.