TWO members of a family died in a freak accident attributed to a “wrongly constructed slope” where one should not be there. A PMPML bus that was parked there moved down the slope and the driver tried to do some manoeuvring to stop it, according to preliminary reports. He tried to reverse the bus but the bus hit the members of the Dange family standing nearby. Three members were injured in the mishap at Katraj depot on Monday. Police and PMPML initiated a probe.
PMPML claimed Katraj depot that serves as a bus stand for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System buses, suffers from a design fault. “It has an accident prone slope and needs immediate correction,” officials said.
The deceased were Subhash Hanumant Dange (50) and Sunanda Tanaji Kakade (45) and the injured were Hemlata Hanumant Dange (70), Susheela Sanjay Dange (40) and Anushka Sanjay Dange (20). The injured are under treatment.
An offence was registered against bus driver Vasant Abasaheb Gaikwad at Bharati Vidyapeeth police station. Police said the victims are residents of Satara and had come to Pune to attend a wedding function. On reaching Pune by bus, they were waiting at PMPML bus depot at Katraj to take another bus. But all of a sudden, a PMPML bus parked at the spot moved down the slope and knocked them down around 2.30 pm. The victims were rushed to hospital. However, two of them succumbed to injuries.
Police suspect the bus driver lost control while balancing the pressure of the air brakes. The bus started rolling and hit the Dange family nearby. The bus collided with a few “private” vehicles as well.
Senior police inspector Machhindra Chavan said the driver has been arrested on the charges of negligence.
Deepak Pardeshi, spokesperson of PMPML, said a departmental inquiry has been initiated. “Gaikwad is a permanent driver of the PMPML. The bus belongs to PMPML’s Market Yard depot. On Monday, it was taken to Katraj depot on extra duty. The driver started the bus and was about to drive it to Nigdi. But he met with the accident.”
“So far, our inquiry has not revealed any brake failure as reason for the mishap. We got to know that people nearby started shouting, and he tried to control the bus and took a reverse turn. We are trying to find the exact cause of mishap. We are not sure yet whether the driver was at fault or not,” said Pardeshi.
Pardeshi pointed out faults in construction of the Katraj depot. “The depot has been built as a BRTS stand. There is a dangerous slope in the depot. Such slope should never be there at bus stands. Urgent repairs are needed to avoid mishaps in future.”