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Blueline operators can run buses as a co-op, court told

The Delhi government Friday informed the Delhi High Court that it has decided to allow former Blueline bus operators to run over 500 buses on two route clusters in the national capital if they bid for these clusters after forming a firm or a cooperative society.

In order to rehabilitate the out-of-job Blueline bus operators, Delhi government chief standing counsel Najmi Waziri told a division bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Suresh Kait that the bus operators can participate in the bidding for clusters either by forming a company or co-operative society under the route cluster scheme.

The government changed its mind after Blueline bus operators approached the high court seeking directions to the Delhi government for utilisation of their buses by allowing them to ply on inter-state routes.

In his petition, Tara Kant Jha, an operator, sought permitting the bus operators to operate the buses under Stage Carriage Licence granted under the “Reciprocal Common Transport Agreement” on inter-state routes.

However, the government said that no operators will be allowed to run buses as individual entity.

“If they bid as a firm or society, they could be given up to two route clusters, which would enable them to operate at least 500 buses in the city,” said Waziri.

Waziri added that the government has also utilised 1,045 Blueline buses as contract carriages and about 187 such buses were allowed to ply outside the city roads.

Earlier, the court had on March 3 refused to extend the permits of Blueline buses after their expiry, saying pedestrians’ right to life is more important than right to livelihood of the bus operators. It, however, had directed the government to utilise the buses for some meaningful purpose.

The Supreme Court had on May 9 upheld the high court’s findings and asked the Blueline operators to place their pleas before the same court for consideration.

In their plea, the operators said that they had registered their buses under the Companies Act and can offer around 250 buses under reasonable scheme framed by the state government.

The operators further stated in their petition that they have invested a huge amount in purchase of new and sophisticated low-floor buses with GPRS systems. They say the buses fulfill all the norms required by the State Transport Authority (STA).

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