DTC prayed for permission to ‘‘operate its 600 buses in Delhi and NCR areas during the Games without speed-control devices”.
The application cited the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore to drive home the point that ‘‘in the event of a terrorist strike, speedy evacuation/exit’’ will be hampered by the speed governors currently installed in all DTC buses as per a 1997 SC directive.
DTC pleaded that since its fleet of 600 buses will be used to carry only athletes, officials, support staff and the media, they should be permitted to travel at a higher speed. DTC informed the SC that roughly 5,000 new buses purchased by the corporation have ‘‘standard and integral speed governors” that can be recalibrated by a computer.
Pointing out that the public will not be put in harm’s way if the Games buses are driven at a higher speed through ‘‘secure and sanitized corridors’’, the DTC sought a two-month waiver from September to October. It promised to recalibrate the Games buses back to 40km/hr once the sporting event got over.
Earlier, apprehensive that terrorists may attempt to repeat the Lahore bus attack during the Commonwealth Games, the Delhi Police top brass had asked the government and the organizing committee to either replace the DTC’s low-floor buses with Volvos or remove their speed governors.
In a confidential communiqué, the cops had also insisted that dark films be put on the windows of the 600 DTC buses that will carry sportspersons.
For this, Games organizers and the state government exchanged letters to find a solution since the fixing of speed limit is a judicial decision binding on all.