The authority’s accident department could not provide information about the number of drivers who have been terminated after the accident
As many as 41 people have been run over by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses in the past 18 months. Despite this, however, it seems that the authorities are not taking adequate measures to prevent such accidents, giving the bus drivers free rein to knock down anyone on the road.
Hire or fire: After any accident, PMPML officials send a report to higher officials, who decide whether or not the driver should be retained. File pic
“The number of accidents are certainly on the rise, but the PMPML does not take strict action against the drivers. There should be a timebound inquiry into the accidents and strict action should be taken against the bus driver,” said Jugal Rathi, president of PMP Pravasi Manch.
Rathi added that lack of maintenance is one of the biggest reasons for these accidents, as a majority of them take place due to break failure. 70 per cent of accidents occur during the night, due to poor quality or non-functioning headlights. “The officer in charge of maintenance of the bus should also be booked in case of any accident,” said Rathi.
Speaking to mid-day, Sanjay Kusalkar, chief of PMPML’s accident department said, “After the accident, we immediately suspend the driver. We then conduct an inquiry and prepare a detailed report that is forwarded to higher officials, who take the final decision on whether or not the driver should be retained.”
Kusalkar said that before the driver starts work again, he has to undergo a seven-day refresher course to brush up his driving skills. “Only when we are confident about his skills do we allow him to start work again. Moreover, we also conduct several stress-buster programmes for drivers and conductors every six months.”
However, when this reporter asked about the number of terminations in the last two years of drivers who have caused these accidents, Kusalkar was unable to provide any figures.