Since cities have little money to cover operational costs of running buses, they do not invest in new buses or modern infra

Liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother – both died recently in a fratricide – had another business that is not widely known. They had acquired the concession to run public transport buses in Delhi — three clusters with a combined fleet of 600-odd vehicles. Even before they died, this private foray into public buses was turning sour. Given that public-private partnerships (PPPs) have become the country’s favourite pastime, it is important to ask if we really understand how to create and sustain essential public infrastructure for the relatively poor and the middle class. In other words, how do we work with private enterprise for facilities in which costs will have to be kept affordable — often through public subsidy or innovative fiscal management?