Vehicles disinfection keeping us overworked, says Depot Manager

Meenal Vashistha 

DELHI, 21 March 09: The long queues at the Sunheri Pullah bus depot in Delhi is making the bus drivers nervous. There are not enough staff to disinfect the buses and the drivers are scared of contracting Coronavirus by being around so many people. 

The depot usually cleans its buses in two batches of two hours each, between 10 in the morning to 12 and between 4 and 6 in the evening. With the rapid spread of the virus and with it, fears of a fatal outbreak, they’re working from 10 am to 6 pm now with added employees in the night shift and day workers. 

About 202 of the depots 224 buses depart daily, SERVICING (areas in N,S,E, W Delhi? Are there buses to other states?) 

“We are using personal funds to disinfect the vehicles, the government says it will reimburse the amount later. The manpower had to be increased. Right now I have 10 extra night staff workers and 4 day staff for the day on a 15-days basis contract, extending it as the situation goes,” says Sarad Kumar, 37, Depot Manager at Sunheri Pullah Depot here near JLN Stadium, adding that they’re disinfecting 859 vehicles (You say 202 buses but 859 vehicles disinfected daily. How? If it is the same bus disinfected after each trip, you need to say that.) per day on an average. 

The disinfectant is water mixed with Lizol cleaner. Yadav pulls out a Lizol can and starts reading the instructions at the back. “4 litre water with 30 ml Lizol,” he says, adding that they are using over 7 bottles of Lizol cleaner every day right now. The depot contractors in Sadar Bazaar earlier gave a discount of five to ten percent on the stock, but now sell it for the listed price of Rs. 730 per can. 

The (Delhi?) State Transport Authority has two sets of vehicles under it– the Delhi Transport Commission (DTC) buses and Cluster vehicles headed by DIMTS (What is DIMTS?). The cluster vehicles include commercial vehicles such as the school buses, trucks, taxis and autos among others.   

“I saw the news (of disinfecting commercial vehicles) in the paper last Monday. It costs time, but it’s necessary,” says Nandlal Yadav, 35, auto driver, adding, “We have free time since the business has crashed by 50 percent. Earlier (pre-Coronavirus) I would earn Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1200 per day, now I barely earn Rs. 400 to Rs. 600 in a day, of which Rs. 200 goes in filling gas (CNG)