After buses clock 8 lakh km or ten years of use, BMTC is expected to scrap them; however BS IV standard buses are not available with leading automobile manufacturers
After operating over 402 buses on city roads and drawing flak for the increasing levels of pollution in the process, the BMTC has now raised its hands in protest.
State government officials have supported the BMTC in their protest and are now openly lashing out at the Central government for imposing an impractical transport policy.
As per the new transport norms only vehicles with B S IV standard can ply in a metropolitan city. The BTMC will now have to scrap its existing fleet of 402 buses
As per the Center's transport policy, starting April 2010, all Metros are allowed to operate only BS IV standard buses, which cause less pollution compared to the existing BS III buses in the city.
Despite the rule being implemented two years ago, the BMTC has not been able to procure new buses. BMTC has been trying to procure around 1,000 BS IV standard buses, but has been unsuccessful till date and the excuse is that BS IV buses are not available with leading automobile manufacturers.
"We are forced to use old buses because BS IV buses are not available in the country. Our top officials are trying to get in touch with Mercedes Benz in Pune, to procure such buses and we are trying to add 1,000 such buses to our fleet by the end of this year," said S K Parmesh, director, BMTC.
State of matters The city transport corporation runs over 5,864 schedules on a daily basis with a fleet strength of 6,111 buses.
However in reality, six per cent of these buses should have been put out of service long ago as they are reportedly unreliable and cause a greater level of air pollution.
As per BMTC's policy, buses are usually scrapped when they have either clocked 8 lakh km or are 10 years old.
An official however revealed to this reporter that BMTC still has buses, which are 20-25 years old. "The centre implemented a rule without considering the ground reality.
They are still not aware that even leading automobile manufacturers across the country are not able meet the requirements of BS IV buses from various states.
It is a simple lack of coordination between the central and state government," said Ashwin Mahesh, Urban Research Strategist at Office of Urban Affairs, Karnataka Government.
Central Government's BS IV norm is the Indian equivalent of EURO IV, implemented in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. "There is no way the BMTC can buy BS IV buses.
Instead, the Centre should make amendments so that the transport agencies can get the buses over a period of time," Mahesh added.