The bus accident at Palem, according to some, could have been less tragic had the driver and cleaner tried to rescue at least a few, instead of saving themselves. From Jabbar Travels office here, it is learnt that it was the driver himself who informed Hyderabad office incharge Rahim about the incident around 5.30 am.
Rahim maintained that it was a 44-seater bus and no extra passengers were on board. The travel service is owned by one Shakeel Jabbar of Bengaluru. Jabbar Travels had taken two Volvo B9R buses--AP02 TA0612 and AP02 TA0963-- on lease from Diwakar Road Lines of Tadipatri in Anantapur district. Diwakar Travels office is just next to Jabbar Travels at Lakdi-ka-Pul. Its supervisor Nagarjuna claimed the vehicles were sold to Jabbar Travels.
Diwakar Road Lines had taken `1.7 crore loan for the two vehicles from Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bengaluru, in October 2010, to be repaid by July 2014 in 46 equal monthly instalments of `4.51 lakh each. Then, the two buses were leased out to Jabbar Travels. The agreement states that Jabbar Travels is responsible for for any compensation, claims, third party claims and damage to the vehicles.
Rahim said the bus was equipped with a speed governor which will ‘stop’ the bus if it goes past 110 kmph. According to him, the bus had started from Kalasipalyam in Bengaluru at around 10 p.m. on Tuesday and was scheduled to reach Hyderabad by 6.30 am. About allegations that the bus lacked fitness, the operator did not have inter-state permit and payment of road tax to the tune of `12 lakh is due for the last three years, he maintained that they are all baseless.
The reservation list with the operator did not have the names of all passengers, which posed difficulty in identifying the victims.
According to Rahim, the names of the passengers are available only when they booked their tickets online and the chart is available only for internal purposes. Customers too do not give full addresses, he said.