HYDERABAD: The incident of a RTC bus going up in flames after colliding with a van near Bowenpally on Tuesday, resulting in the death of the driver and injuries to several passengers is not an isolated one.
With such incidents (due to accidents or other reaons) increasing at an alarming rate, a big question mark has appeared over the measures being taken by transport authorities to prevent such instances.
Fire officials, while admitting the rise in number of cases, attributed this to the transport officials’ ignorance and the lack of a pro-active approach to prevent them.
“There needs to be a fire extinguisher in every bus to make sure that the flames are put off before they spread. Ideally, there should be two fire extinguishers in each bus -- one in the front and one at the rear. Sadly, we do not even see a single fire extinguisher in our buses and RTA officials do not seem to care,” a top official from the fire department said.
On the other hand, senior officials from the Telangana transport department feel that they are leaving no stone unturned to ensure precautionary measures are in place and the RTC officials instead. “We have always maintained that safety of the passengers is of paramount importance and we are doing everything we can for it. It is up to the RTC to implement the safety measures,” an official said and added that fines were imposed on buses which do not carry fire extinguishers. “They do not have money to pay taxes. How will they pay the fine?” he questioned.
However, chief mechanical engineer of APSRTC Chandrasekhar denied the allegations and insisted that all precautionary measures were being implemented. “We feel AC Volvo buses are more susceptible to fire accidents so two fire extinguishers have been provided apart from the easily-accessible hammers for breaking open windows,” he added.
Speaking about Tuesday’s accident, Chandrasekhar was of the opinion that the fire erupted as a result of the impact of the collision. “It was a head-on collision and the van rammed the diesel tank. As a result, the the vehicles were gutted.
After the tragic incident in 2013, where 45 people were charred after a Volvo bus proceeding to Hyderabad from Bangalore caught fire, the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure project (NATRIP) panel had recommended some changes. However, the changes are yet to be implemented by the government.