The Khed bus tragedy, in which 37 people lost their lives, is still fresh in the memories of many.
Whether or not our roads have become any safer since is debatable, but the government’s focus seems to be on mending the process of identifying bodies in case such a catastrophe were to occur again. A promise on these lines was made in the assembly during the recent budget session and now the administration is trying to keep it.
Accordingly, the state transport commissioner’s office has issued a circular to all tourist taxis and buses to note down names, addresses and contact numbers of passengers and their kin.
It may be recalled that after the non-AC luxury bus plunged 40 feet off Mumbai-Goa highway (NH-17) into a river at Khed taluka in Ratnagiri district, authorities had a tough time establishing the identities of the deceased and communicating to their relatives. This had led to a hue and cry in the state assembly in the budget session. Consequently, the Pune RTO received the circular with the instructions of the transport commissioner last week.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Pune regional transport officer Arun Yeola said, “As per the directives given in the circular, we will create awareness among all tourist taxis and buses in the region. Names with relevant information will be useful in case of serious road mishaps. As per the circular, the bus and taxi owners or drivers should make three copies of the passengers’ details by getting their names, addresses and phone numbers of their close relatives. The measures are compulsory as per section 88(9) of The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Of the three copies of the information, one should be kept in the vehicle, while the other two should be given to the permit inspector.”
Welcoming the move, Rajan Junawane, vice-president, Pune Bus Owners Association, added, “This information will also useful for insurance clams in case of accidents.”
13,061: The number of tourist buses in Pune region
19,841: The number of tourist taxis in the area