Pune: The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has asked the committee that was formed by then chairman and managing director Tukaram Mundhe six months ago to probe into fire incidents on PMPML buses to submit its report within a week.
The transport body has also requested the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to conduct a fire audit of its buses. The eight-member committee is headed by the Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Pune and includes members of PMPML, CIRT and bus manufacturers such as Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland.
“A meeting was held on Saturday after the back-to-back fire incidents. We are worried about buses catching fire. The PMPML administration has decided that the committee, which was formed earlier, would submit the report within a week. PMPML will act on its findings,” said Nayana Gunde, CMD. PMPML.
On Thursday, as many as 30 PMPML commuters had a narrow escape when a bus caught fire on the Ahmednagar Road BRTS. As smoke filled the interior, commuters were trapped inside and were trying to get off. They found one of the automatic doors locked. Some passengers, in a state of panic, jumped out of windows. This was the 10th such incident involving a PMPML bus in the past five months.
Breaking down of buses will be addressed: Gunde
Breakdown has become a nuisance for the PMPML these days. During his tenure, Tukaram Mundhe transferred staff members from one depot to another. Now, it has been observed that breakdown of buses has increased due to transfer of staff and lack of technical experts in each depot.
During the rejig, however, buses as well as employees were randomly allocated, which caused a great deal of confusion and maintenance issues. The decision, it’s now clear, caused the transport body dearly. According to the depot managers and superintendents at the workshops, maintenance work has been hit. Technical issues and the skill set of staffers do not often match. “This has resulted in poor maintenance of the buses. For example, someone who has worked with diesel buses throughout his career has been posted in the department where he is supposed to look after CNG buses. The technology is different and such a person will take time to learn it. Meanwhile, it is affecting the health of the buses,” said a PMPML official.
“We can’t allow this to go on. We will soon start the process of reallocating departments so that the maintenance work is streamlined and improved. Negative effect on the health of buses results in inconvenience to passengers, loss of trips and revenue to PMPML. It also shortens a vehicle’s life,” said Gunde. She said PMPML is considering the old centralised towing system for buses in case of breakdowns.