Fishy fleet

a leading English daily reported that 200 Delhi Transport Corporation (dtc) buses were plying on the capital's roads without catalytic converters. It stated that emissions from these vehicles, running on compressed natural gas (cng), were 90 per cent more than those from other such buses. Instead of a catalytic converter, an ordinary metal pipe was fitted to fill the gap in the exhaust system, it claimed.

The Supreme Court had, in July 1998, ruled that the bus fleet of the entire city should be converted to cng (see Down To Earth , Vol 10, No 9, September 30, 2001) .

Rakesh Mehta, chairperson and managing director of dtc , however, refutes these allegations. "The report was done on the basis of a conversation with one dtc depot manager and is not authentic. Action will be taken against the errant staff member for divulging false information,' he says.

It was revealed in the report that when Ashok Leyland, one of the two bus manufacturers of cng buses in India, handed over the vehicles to dtc in mid-2001, corporation officials did not bother to check whether the catalytic converter was fitted in the buses. It was only recently that the Sarojini Nagar depot manager noticed that some buses were emitting more smoke.

Ashok Leyland officials also deny that they are supplying buses without catalytic converters. "There are only one or two buses of this kind and not 200. Catalytic converters have been taken out of these buses to be repaired and will be replaced shortly,' says an Ashok Leyland official. Company sources point out that cng buses sometimes experience a back-pressure problem. In order to address this, catalytic converters have to be taken out and checked.