Data obtained by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) showed that private buses – taken on contract — providing service for the transport body have killed more people than those owned and run by the PMPML in accidents in the past fiscal.
As per the data, although of the total 2,000 buses run by the PMPML only 750 are privately run, the number of people who died in accidents involving the private buses is 56 per cent. The data shows that 15 of the 27 people who lost their lives between April 2013 and March 2014 died in accidents involving the privately operated buses while the other 12 died in the accidents caused by the buses.
The numbers were comparable last year, too. Between April 2012 to March 2013, 12 of the 26 persons who lost their lives had died in the accident involving private buses.
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Jugal Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch said, “The PMPML has no control over the drivers of these buses. Niether does PMPML conduct an inquiry nor do they fix responsibility in case of an accident involving a private bus. The transport utility is not aware about the track record of the drivers who ply these buses,” said Jugal Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch.
Rathi said although the accident record of the PMPML-run buses was also not good, the private operators had worsened it in the past few years.
Rathi said the number of accidents had gone up because the PMPML doesn’t monitor the accident record of each of its drivers.
“The PMPML is not determined to get to the root cause of the every accident that take place. They have to decide some norm for taking a driver off the road. We have seen that many drivers who were involved in as many as 8-10 accidents were continuing their service without having to undergo any suspension or additional training,” said Rathi.
Manikrao Waghmode, the driver involved in Friday’s accident in which two college students were grievously injured in an accident on FC Road when their stationary scooter was crushed by a PMPML bus, has a history of causing six accidents in the past.
Sanjay Kusalkar, accident department chief of PMPML, said although PMPML can’t conduct inquiries and punish the drivers hired by the private firms, it cooperates with the police in investigating such accident cases.
“The police probes every registered accident case and we provide them all possible assistance,” said Kusalkar. He added that the PMPML has started to keep the driving record of each and every bus driver employed by the utility.
“If a driver is found to cause frequent accidents, we suspend him and re-induct him in the training module,” said Kusalkar.