The Lok Sabha Secretariat Wednesday lashed out at the AAP-led Delhi government for withdrawing the ‘MP Special’ bus service meant to ferry legislators while the odd-even restrictions are in force.
Secretary in the Lok Sabha Secretariat, D Bhalla, said that Parliament was paying for the bus service provided by the Delhi government and it was not a favour to anyone. He asserted that the secretariat was “competent enough” to arrange the transportation for MPs.
“We had not made any request to them (AAP government) to provide any such help. Delhi government offered the service. It is ridiculous for them to say that they did a favour to us as the bus service provided by the government is a paid facility. Parliament Secretariat was supposed to pay Rs 12,000 per day for each bus. We do not need any mercy,” Bhalla said at a press conference. He also backed the demand for exempting MPs from the odd-even scheme.
“Is the act of MPs coming to Parliament to discuss bills not important? Whether the MPs come to attend Parliament or standing committee meetings, they come here to take decisions related to people of the country, including the people of Delhi. They deserve to be exempted,” he said.
The secretary, however, was quick to add that the decision to exempt MPs should be left to the “sagacity of Delhi government”. “We, however, leave it to the sagacity of Delhi government. We are not angry with Delhi government… We welcome the odd- even scheme.”
The Delhi government said that the bus service was scrapped following poor response from MPs for two straight days. “There is no question of paying, we are not asking for money. The question of money does not arise because DTC was providing the buses for the convenience of MPs. On Monday, there were only five or six MPs who used it for a single trip. Therefore, we cut down the service to two buses Tuesday. We again saw that only a couple of MPs used it, so we decided to pull back the services completely on Wednesday,” Delhi government spokesperson Nagendra Sharma said.
In a statement, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said that due to the odd-even formula announced by the government of Delhi, only 13 vehicles were available on even dates, while 12 vehicles were available for odd dates.
On Wednesday, BJP MP from Tezpur, R P Sarma, left for Parliament on a horse, with a board around its neck that read “pollution free vehicle”. The Delhi Police, however, interrupted the MP’s ride near the Rail Bhavan. He told reporters that he only had an even number vehicle, and was in no position to afford another one for odd days.