Commuter groups in the city have demanded that criminal offences be registered against personnel of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd’s (PMPML) maintenance department for accidents resulting due to bus breakdowns.
The demand was made after three fatal accidents occurred in a span of the last 18 days and over 4,000 buses developed glitches in the last six months.
Officials from the traffic police department too expressed their concern over the alarming number of breakdowns in crowded areas. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare had recently attributed bus breakdowns and VVIP movements, as the only two reasons, for clogged roads.
“PMPML’s existing fleet of buses comprises 1,200 vehicles, an increase by nearly 20 per cent in comparison to last year. But despite addition of new busses, the number of breakdowns has gone up,” PMPML Pravasi Manch Convener Jugal Rathi said.
He added that since the PMPML maintains the buses on a regular basis, employees of the maintenance department should be held responsible for the frequent breakdowns. “Criminal cases of culpable homicide should be registered against the employees so that unfair practices in this department end,” Rathi said.
Commenting on the issue, Advocate Manoj Bidkar said that as per the Motor Vehicles Act, once a vehicle is on the road, the onus is on its driver.
“Incidents such as sudden brake fails and tyre bursts are looked upon as natural — act of god — which are beyond the control of the driver or any other employee. So it will be difficult to establish the employee’s intention of committing the crime, ” Bidkar said.
DCP Pandhare said, “Legally and technically, it would be difficult for police to prove the guilt of a particular PMPML employee. The administration itself should identify persons responsible for the breakdown of a particular bus, and take appropriate action against the employee responsible.”
The Other Side
Commenting on the issue, PMPML PRO Deepak Pardeshi said, The Pravasi Manch has made this demand with a good intention of improving the performance of PMPML. However, one should take note that sufficient infrastructure is not available. So before taking any kind of action, infrastructure needs to be improved first.