Pune: Although Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamadal Limited (PMPML) claimed that its drivers took every possible precaution to ensure that there were no accidents during the ‘road safety campaign’ week, which was observed from April 23 to May 7, as many as four fatal accidents took place during the campaign.
The fact that these fatal accidents took place involving PMPML buses was highlighted by the PMP Pravasi Manch.
Interestingly, PMPML administration released a press statement on Monday saying that as part of the campaign, the transport body organised various events, pasted stickers on buses, held health check-ups for its staffers and took accident-less driving workshops for its drivers. The press statement also stated that PMPML is taking every effort to make road safety a reality.
Information obtained by PMP Pravasi Manch shows that these fatal accidents took place on April 27, 28, 30 and May 2 wherein pedestrians and two-wheeler riders were hit by PMPML buses. The two buses were operated by private contractors, while two others are owned and operated by PMPML. In fact, the numbers show that since April 2017 till date, as many as 25 persons have lost their lives in accidents involving PMPML buses raising concerns about the manner of driving and health of the vehicles. Of these, 13 deaths occurred in accidents involving contractual buses while 12 deaths involved PMPML owned and operated buses.
On April 26, Syed Bashir Alam (20), a resident of Pimple Gurav lost his life in an accident, which took place at 10.35 pm. On April 27 at about 2.50 pm, Mohan Deshpande (44), a resident of Aundh, was hit by a BRT bus near Ramwadi Chowki and succumbed to his injuries. On April 30, Dattatraya Mangale (35), a resident of Mali Mala near Loni Kalbhor, died after meeting with an accident with a PMPML bus. On May 2, Rais Ansari (15), a resident of Munjaba Wasti, Dhanori, was killed in an accident that took place at 8.30 am near Kalas bus stop near Vishrantwadi.
“This shows that the ‘road safety mission’ was nothing but lip service by the PMPML. These deaths are a result of unpardonable negligence on part of the PMPML administration. The administration and staffers often ignore things like brake failure, drivers violating traffic rules, lack of proper upkeep of buses, drivers stopping the bus away from the stops, causing commotion and encroachment on the bus stops. PMPML authorities take rule violation casually, which embolden the drivers. There’s also lack of control over private contractors, who operate buses as they please,” said Jugal Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch.
The Manch has also demanded that each accident involving a PMPML bus should be probed by an expert in a time-bound inquiry followed by a recommendation to avoid repetition. It has also demanded that there should be punitive action against drivers, conductors or mechanics responsible for the accident.