Delhi Govt. clears proposals worth ₹1,500 crore to boost health and transport infra

₹415 crore will be used for improving COVID-19 testing and labs

The Delhi Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday, gave its nod to two significant proposals with a budget of over ₹1,500 crore for the Capital’s health sector.

The Delhi Government’s ‘Emergency COVID Response Package’ (ECRP) will be spent on further enhancing testing and labs, procuring supplies, mobilising additional human resources, increasing health facilities in hospitals and managing Covid Care Centres among others.

“As a responsible Government, we are taking all measures and steps necessary in this fight against COVID-19. In view of the advent of a possible wave, the Delhi Government is trying its best to strengthen its health systems and preparedness at every level,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

According to the Government, the State ECRP will allow expenditure on all the long term and short term activities to manage COVID-19 in Delhi as per the plans and policies of the Delhi Government. The Government said it has allotted ₹1,544 crore for the State ECRP for the fiscal year 2021-22.

Of the total budget, ₹415 crore will be used for improving COVID-19 testing and labs, ₹445 crore for procurement of supplies, ₹280 crore to bolster health facilities and hospitals, and ₹125 crore for management of Covid care centres. The city’s ICU-bed capacity will be increased to 17,000 by adding 6,386 beds in seven hospitals.

The Cabinet also approved the induction of 190 low-floor CNG propelled air-conditioned buses under its Cluster scheme.

The tender for Cluster 16 CLF, which includes 350 buses, was floated twice but only a single bid was received on both occasions and therefore, the tenders were cancelled. It was then decided to split the tender having Cluster-ID 16A CLF and 16B CLF with 160 and 190 buses respectively.

The Delhi Government currently operates 3,033 non-AC and AC buses under the Cluster scheme. Earlier this year, the Cabinet had also approved the proposal for the award of contract to 160 buses. With the addition of these 190 buses, the total number of cluster buses will reach 3,383 and the total bus fleet in Delhi will reach an all-time high of 7,140, the Government stated.

These new low-floor CNG AC Buses would be fully compliant with BS-VI emission standards and equipped with state of the art facilities like real-time passenger information system, CCTVs, panic buttons, GPS and other facilities, besides being differently-abled friendly.

The transport department will incur an estimated amount of ₹1,259 crore on the viability gap funding for 10 years on the prevailing fare structure with the engagement of 190 buses under Cluster Number 16B CLF. The buses will start arriving next year.

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