For as many reasons one possibly garners to soothe oneself over the fact that we are Indian citizens , a hundred fold trigger off anger and disgust that we are in fact Indian citizens who either out of choice or compulsion are doomed to live in a country where the administration is totally oblivious of the problems faced by a common man. Whether you live in penury or die as a result of their corruption and apathy- is hardly an issue deserved of their time.
Shocking expose of reasons for the continuance of Blue line Buses on Delhi roads despite being on a murder trail since the beginning of the year leaves you numb, moreso after you preened on having seen and heard it all, along comes this revelation!
Mere commiserations to the victims and their families seem futile and painfully forced when tragedies that are man made occur with appalling regularity.
A case in point Blue Line Buses of Delhi who have uncaringly mowed down 97 innocent men, women and children since January this year in various accidents. It is as if a Saturnian Force Majeure has rendered impotent the Administration, Police Deptt. of New Delhi to have taken them off the roads or phased out their fleet at the first instance. But as is wont to occur , until and unless the numbers are not impressive ( even if they enumerate pedestrian deaths), action is limited to lip service. A catalyst is needed you see, for a reaction that might pre-empt change!
As expected there is MORE than meets the eye. Its not even mere lethargy or inaction that is the culprit. The shocking revelation of a nexus between traffic constables and contractors of the buses on one hand and the possibility of the actual owners and the Govt on the other creates a happy quadrant of involved parties all counting the booty at the end of the month, least bothered about the trail of blood it leaves in between.
Two shocking revelations which explain precisely why the Blue Line Bus drivers behave the way they do and why they are still plying or rather mowing the roads of Delhi in search of another innocent life to be crushed under their demonic wheels.
They ( bus drivers) actually pay good money to speed, tamper with the speed governors and drive even after drinking.
If you take a peek into any traffic officer’s diary, you will see a list of movie songs — Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge, Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, Mera Dil Tera Ashiq ho Gaya — these are the codes used in the transaction.
How it works
The traffic officer chooses the tune of the month, listed in his diary. The bus driver is told the code of the month.
As the busdriver forks up the weekly bribe, the traffic cop completes the title of the song in his diary.
Hence the penchant for songs or movie names that can be broken into four words — one for each week.
Different areas of the city have different codes. While one traffic officer may work with movie songs, another, with a more mathematical frame of mind, works with numbers.
Here the number of the bus plays a crucial role. If the bus route number is 1931, this means the bribe will be collected on odd numbered days.
Or if the traffic officer is religiously inclined, the system adopted is that of stickers with religious slogans such as Jai Mata Di posted in the bus.
The system is so well organised that everyone in the business gets to know the code of the month well in time. No one encroaches on another traffic officer’s area and no bus driver has to pay more than once in a particular area. The code is all the protection he needs.
Q.E.D…n’ est pas?
Now to another scary insight.
The Blueline buses are somewhat like stray dogs: free to roam around anywhere they please, free to bite and kill and go into hiding whenever the dogcatchers/traffic squads come around.
And like stray dogs, they have no owners. Almost.
Most Blueline buses are run not by their owners but a class of people called contractor.
Inquiries revealed that contractors who pay a daily amount ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,500 to the bus owners named in the permits manage 2,600 of the 4,379 Bluelines plying on Delhi roads daily.
The employer/owner takes two-thirds of the daily earnings, leaving the rest for Kumar, which is not too little he insists. This is a good arrangement and they both like it. But it is illegal.
The transport department only recognises the owner and not the contractor. But officials also point out that many of those registered as owners are actually contractors fronting for well know politicians and officials.“It is not easy to differentiate between real and fictitious owners,” said Delhi transport minister Haroon Yusuf. His officials are talking to the traffic police on how to sort the situation. But expect nothing.
“If the transport department is facing the North Pole, traffic police is facing the South Pole and this is the real problem. Illegal contractorship can be finished within a week if there is effective patrolling,” Chetna, a non-governmental organization working on transport, told a state assembly committee earlier this year.
The practice is worrying officials because it is at the heart of the mess around Bluelines. The owners don’t run buses so they are not aware of what’s happening, what kind drivers are being used, good, bad or ugly.
The contractor’s only concern is the bottom line. The money must keep coming, no matter what. Even if some of the notes have a bit of blood on them. Just too bad someone came under a speeding bus. “Earnings from tickets, number of trips per day on the specified route and how many passengers to be allowed in each bus is my discretion, said Rajinder Kumar, another bus contractor.
Of course, he doesn’t care about anything else much. His drivers are under instructions to prevent rival service buses from overtaking or picking up that extra passenger. And DTC buses are paid to trail.
Under pressure from employers and contractors, drivers must set themselves a scorching pace. “Working without a break has caused severe pain in my back,” says a Blueline driver, Vinod Chauhan. “But I can bear it with tobacco during daytime and liquor in the evening,” Chauhan added. And in between are endless trips between terminals, death-defying chases for that extra passenger. And, of course, accidents.
The Delhi High Court Monday came down heavily on Blueline bus operators for the killing of innocent people by the bus drivers and said “the situation could not get worse than this”.
Summoning the government and private operators for an urgent hearing on the issue, a bench headed by Justices Mukul Mudgal and Reva Khetrapal termed the growing incidents of fatal accidents as “shocking”.
“It’s becoming shocking day by day and cannot get worse than this,” the bench said in reference to the accidents by privately owned Blueline buses.
The court also warned that it would withdraw all consideration shown to the Blueline buses, which have snuffed out at least 94 lives since January 2007.
“Now, we have to withdraw all directions in favour of Blueline bus operators,” the bench said after amicus curiae Anup Bhambani brought Sunday’s accident to the court’s notice.
Blood Line buses spell Blue murder I say!