New Delhi, Aug 20 : With the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recommending a CBI probe into a deal by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) related to the purchase and Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) of 1,000 low-floor AC buses, the procurement of buses by the DTC might get delayed by a long period, a senior official in the transport department said on Thursday.
The official said that after 2008, not a single bus has been procured by the DTC and once the 15-year contract of AMC expires, the DTC may be forced to stop its services.
He said that 12 years of the contact have already been completed, and the DTC was in the process of extending it for the next three years.
“I don’t think the DTC would be able to procure new buses for the next few years until the enquiry recommended by the Ministry of Home Affairs is completed, which may take a long time. It will not only stop the possibility of procurement of new buses, but will also have an impact on many developments under the DTC. The relentless hurdles facing the procurement of new buses by the DTC since 2008 are gradually pushing it come to a standstill one day,” the official said.
“The DTC may face more difficulties in finding bidders for many other services, because the companies do not want to get into a controversy,” the official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The MHA has recommended a CBI enquiry into a DTC deal related to the purchase and APM of 1,000 low-floor air-conditioned buses after a committee formed by Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal had flagged various lapses.
The move came after the three-member committee pointed out that the eligibility criteria laid out in the AMC tender “defeated the purpose of splitting the bids”.
In its 11-page report, the committee had observed that the AMC encouraged ‘cartelisation’ and ‘monopoly pricing’.
It also contained a sequencing of the purchase and AMC tendering, saying it created a situation where both the bidders were aware that they were the only players in the game.
MHA Additional Secretary (Union Territory), Govind Mohan, had communicated the decision of the Centre to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev on August 16.
“I am writing this in connection with the purchase of 1,000 low-floor buses by Delhi government and the report submitted by the three-member committee constituted by the Government of NCT Delhi for a detailed enquiry into the matter.
“The matter has been examined in this ministry and with the approval of competent authority, the DoPT has been requested to take necessary action for undertaking preliminary enquiry in the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation,” Mohan wrote the Chief Secretary.
However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi has denied all the allegations, claiming that an attempt is being to tarnish the image of the AAP government.
Despite the controversy, the Delhi government has not yet scrapped the deal, and instead put it on hold on June 12.
At present, Delhi has a total of 6,793 buses against a requirement of over 11,000 buses, which 3,760 are under DTC and 3,033 are under the Cluster Scheme.
Since March 2020, a total of 452 new buses were added under the Cluster scheme, but not a single bus has been inducted under the DTC since 2008.