This figure includes the units in whose case the direction of closure was revoked later on.
New Delhi: Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Maken on Tuesday said that there was a scam of Rs 750 crore in the proposal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to purchase 1,000 electric buses for the city.
He said the government, in its affidavit submitted to before Supreme Court, had stated that each bus would cost Rs 2.5 crore while the Congress government in Karnataka had bought electric buses for Rs 1.75 crore per bus in Bengaluru. He said this clearly shows that there is a Rs 750 crore scam in the Delhi government’s move to purchase 1,000 electric buses, as the Kejriwal government has given inflated figures in its affidavit to the apex court.
Addressing a press conference, Mr Maken said that the Supreme Court-monitored Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), in its recent report, has recommended that the court should not clear the government proposal in Delhi as it lacks detailing.
The EPCA also referred to the AAP government’s “past track record” of inducting conventional CNG buses, which was nothing to gloat about.
Mr Maken said that the EPCA had wondered from where did the AAP government arrived at the figure of Rs 2.5 crore per electric bus. The EPCA had then informed the Supreme Court that the Delhi government was preparing the launch of the electric buses without any preparation. He said the government was going to spend much more per one electric bus than any other city in the country.
Mr Maken said the EPCA, headed by Bure Lal, had informed the Supreme Court about the extra Rs 750 crore that the AAP government would be wasting on buying the electric buses, which was a serious issue.
Mr Maken said that though the government had presented a “Green Budget” this year, it had not taken any steps to control pollution in the national capital. He said that India is the global host of this year’s World Environment Day and “Beat Plastic Pollution” is the central theme of this event, but as a responsible Opposition, the Congress was highlighted how air and environment pollution levels have been getting worse with every passing day in Delhi.
Mr Maken said, shockingly, India generates around 5.6 million plastic waste annually, and, as per government figures, Delhi is the worst city for plastic consumption.
He said the previous Congress government had banned plastic in Delhi through a law in 2009 and later expanded it to all plastic packaging and single-use disposable plastic, but the ban is rarely enforced.
He said plastic bags were still the staple for carrying vegetables, fruit, meat and restaurant take always. He said the Congress will take up with the BJP government at the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi to take strict action at the production and consumption levels of plastic by enforcing the law strictly.
Mr Maken said that Delhi Maintenance and Management Parking Rules, 2017, prepared by the transport department last year, had to come into force by October 2017, but this policy was nowhere near implementation.
He said there was poor enforcement of pollution control laws. During 2016-17, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee had issued 10,797 show cause notices for the closure of under water, air, environment Act, which was reduced to 803 in 2017-18. Out of the 312 closure directions in 2017-18 by the DPCC, 64 units were effectively closed.
This figure includes the units in whose case the direction of closure was revoked later on. The Congress leader said that the government has to release subsidies to e-rickshaw owners from ‘air ambience fund’. But still, 6,168 e-rickshaw owners did not avail of the facility.
As on 31-3-2018, Rs 181.94 crore is the balance amount lying with the Delhi Government. He said that India had 14 of the world’s 15 worst cities for dirty air in a recent WHO survey-2018. He said air pollution in Delhi has been going up during the past few winter months, leading to unprecedented levels due to adverse weather conditions etc in the NCR. He said the air quality index of Delhi is worse even in summer. He said while in winter people are breathing pollutants equalling 42 cigarettes, during this summer they breathe pollutants equivalent to 7 to 8 cigarettes cigarette smoking.
The Congress leader said despite the demand for more DTC buses, there has been no addition to its fleet during the three years of the Kejriwal government. The metro ridership has come down after the Kejriwal government hiked the metro fares twice in a year. He said the ambitious Phase IV of the metro project has been stuck for over a year with the Delhi government due to “financial reasons”, though the DPR of the project was cleared in July 2014.