NEW DELHI: Delhi government today rolled out special air-conditioned bus service for Members of Parliament (MPs) to ferry them to and fro during the on-going odd-even car rationing scheme but had to withdraw a majority of the buses within hours due to poor response from parliamentarians.
Only four-five lawmakers availed of the facility of DTC's "MP Special" to reach Parliament on the first day of the launch of the service. In view of the Parliament session, Delhi government had announced it would deploy six air-conditioned buses to ferry MPs and appealed to them to follow the odd-even scheme. The 'MP Special' buses were to ply from 9 AM to 11 AM and 5.30 PM to 8 PM.
"However, keeping in view today's experience and following consultations with officials concerned in both Houses of Parliament, it has been decided that two buses will be retained as shuttles for MPs and remaining four will be reverted back to the DTC fleet from tomorrow morning," Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said.
The minister, who took a bus ride to inspect compliance of the fortnight-long car-rationing scheme in the morning, cautioned that if MPs "intentionally" violate the odd-even rules, they will not be "spared".
Rai ruled out exempting MPs from the scheme but the AAP dispensation will work to address their issues through public conveyance. Earlier in the day, the Transport Minister met Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari and discussed how MPs would reach Parliament.
After the meeting, the minister said there are just four days left and by the time any change in the notification is effected, the scheme will itself end. The odd-even scheme today came under attack in Parliament with some members alleging it would lead to "corruption" and was aimed at "insulting" MPs as they sought exemption from the scheme to attend the House.
BJP MP Paresh Rawal today violated the odd-even rule by reaching the House in his even-numbered car, following which he apologised to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
"Made a serious blunder by travelling in a odd number car to Parliament... Sorry to Arvind ji n Delhiite...(sic)," Rawal tweeted. The BJP MP later tweeted a challan copy, saying he has paid a fine for violating the odd-even rule.
According to Delhi government, a help desk has also been set up on Parliament premises to assist lawmakers in availing of the bus service. A senior government official said that keeping security of MPs in mind, some security personnel will also be deployed in these buses.
MPs have not been given exemption under the odd-even scheme, the second phase of which started on April 15 and will end on April 30. The violation of the car-rationing scheme attracts a penalty of Rs 2,000.
President, Prime Minister, Vice-President, union ministers, Chief Justice of India, judges of high courts, women among others are exempted under it.