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Santosh Mane effect: electronic gates to control entry, exit at Swargate depot

In an effort to avoid a repeat of January’s Santosh Mane incident, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has proposed technologically advanced electronic gates at the Swargate bus depot.

Electronic boom barricades will be installed at the depot to prevent anybody from taking away a bus out of turn. On January 25, Mane had just picked an ST bus at random and went on a crazed drive through the city, resulting in the death of nine people.


E-gates on the way: The Swargate bus depot, where installation of electronic boom barricades has been proposed. Pic/Imzanglu Aier

The latest proposal comes after ST officials recently made arrangements to streamline the flow of incoming and outgoing buses. Now, of the two gates at the depot, the one that opens on Hadapasar road has been reserved for all incoming buses, and two-wheelers and four-wheelers have been completely banned entry from this gate. The gate that opens on Satara Road is for outgoing buses.

Along with the plan for electronic gates, the MSRTC has also proposed increasing the width of the entrance to 100 feet, which will be 16 feet more than the existing width. “This project is sanctioned and the tendering process is going on. We have conveyed all our requirements about the gate. At first, the ST management suggested the use of button-operated electronic gates. But in one minute two to three buses make their exit from the gate, so we thought the button-operated system can be a problem and will require additional manpower for operating it. To make the operations smooth, we have demanded boom barricades which are used at toll booths on the highway,” a senior ST officer said.

The officer added that data on bus schedules would be fed in a machine, which will operate the boom barricades. The machine will scan the number plate of buses and will open the gate only for those buses which are scheduled for a journey.

The officer said such a system would help avoid bus thefts.
Swargate depot handles 1,640 buses everyday and sees about 70,000 commuters daily.

“After the Santosh Mane incident, the ST management is very serious about security issues,” Swargate Depot Manager Vijay Divate said. “We have appointed eight security guards at Swargate and many new security measures are in the pipeline.”

Shivajinagar Depot Manager Vijay Patil said that after the installation of the gates at Swargate, the same facility will be provided at the Shivajinagar and the Pune station bus stands.

Mane not to be shifted to mental hospital
A magistrate’s court yesterday rejected a plea by ST bus driver Santosh Mane to shift him to the mental hospital from the Yerawada jail. Judicial Magistrate First Class A G Samtani also rejected Mane’s plea to bring his Solapur-based psychiatrist Dr Dilip Burate to treat him. While seeking the shifting of Mane to the mental hospital, his lawyer M K Agarwal submitted to the court that the jail did not have proper facilities to treat Mane, but the magistrate turned down the plea, saying it will be considered only after the charge-sheet in the case is filed by the police.  

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