34 Shirdi devotees on edge as bus takes blind leap of faith

Updated: Dec 19, 2016, 19:21 IST | Gaurav Sarkar |

34 Shirdi devotees returning to the city on the edge for six hours since bus they were travelling in didn't have functional headlights; couldn't get a mechanic on the busy highway

The bus that made the journey from Shirdi to the city without headlightsThe bus that made the journey from Shirdi to the city without headlights

The accident-prone 238-km road stretch between Shirdi and Mumbai turned out to be an even more perilous one than usual for 34 bus passengers, who were returning from the holy site late on Sunday evening. Reason: They travelled the entire distance in a vehicle that did not have functional headlights.

According to the passengers, their sleeper bus left from Shirdi at around 5.30 pm on Sunday evening. However, they were only alerted of their eventful journey after dusk, when they realised they were travelling in pitch darkness.

Passenger Harish Sharma (40), a resident of Bhayander, who had gone to Shirdi along with his mother, brother and three other friends, said that they were on tenterhooks till they reached Mumbai. “At around 7 pm, when we were 50 kms into our journey, we noticed that the driver was driving without headlights,” he said.

Sharma and a few other passengers immediately asked the driver to pull up on the highway. “We told him to call for a mechanic, but since we were in the middle of the highway, it was impossible to get help,” said Sharma.

Instead, the driver called for another bus from the same company that was travelling on same route at the time, and trailed the vehicle all the way till the outskirts of Mumbai. “Of our seven-hour journey, we drove six hours in total darkness,” Sharma said.

Owner of Shri Sai Tours and Travels, which ran the bus service, was unavailable for comment.

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