Coronavirus outbreak: MSRTC bus gets a spin, thanks to fans

Updated: 19 April, 2020 07:17 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Automobile engineer helps convert a bus at a Thane depot, into a mobile santiser compartment

Automobile engineer Siddhesh Kanekar was inspired to convert an MSRTC bus into a mobile santiser compartment after seeing similar initiatives in other state
Automobile engineer Siddhesh Kanekar was inspired to convert an MSRTC bus into a mobile santiser compartment after seeing similar initiatives in other state

Bus fans and engineers have come together for an initiative to convert Maharashtra State Transport buses into mobile sanitiser disinfectant chambers at Thane.

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, which has one of the biggest bus fleets in India, not only has a dedicated fan club, but also youngsters working to help the bus community when in distress. Now, the community has helped MSRTC convert one bus into a mobile sanitising chamber at a Thane bus depot.

Once you enter the bus, you have to walk to the rear exit. Here, you have to press a button and the santising liquid is then sprayed on you
Once you enter the bus, you have to walk to the rear exit. Here, you have to press a button and the santising liquid is then sprayed on you

While software geek and Masters of Computer Application professional Rohit Dhende heads a body called BusForUs Foundation, automobile engineer Siddhesh Kanekar is another dedicated fan whose passion is MSRTC buses.

"It was a lazy morning on Monday and I woke up with the news that Karnataka, State Transport had built a 'Sanitiser Bus' for their employees. I thought if they can, why can't we? As an automobile engineer and an ardent MSRTC fan, I decided to do something regarding this. I called up the general manager, Rahul Toro, and conveyed the idea. When he gave the go ahead, we started work," says Kanekar.

The vehicle is stationed at Khopat bus depot
The vehicle is stationed at Khopat bus depot

With all permissions in place, Kanekar contacted friends who are engineers and approached the Khopat bus depot. "A sanitiser bus would require two doors—entry and exit. They then told us what material we'd require for this. The bigger challenge was procuring material during the lockdown. We scouted the Internet and contacted local shops. Luckily, an agricultural shop in the area had the required material and a neighbour, Chetan Chavan, accompanied me to buy the material. We got it in hand and reached the depot on Tuesday," explains Kanekar.

"The staff at the depot helped us by removing all seats. We started work on Wednesday and it took us just three hours to make it functional. It was a moment of great pride for me," he adds.

"Many people have donated to relief funds, given food to the needy etc. But, as a bus fan and an automobile lover, I decided to contribute in my own way."

Rs 6,700
Amount it cost Kanekar to convert the bus into a santiser compartment

How it was done

Kanekar says, "We installed the gardening pipes and six foggers on the rooftop inside the bus. We have fitted a 200 litre tank and 0.5 hp motor in the bus along with the invertor for the power supply. Whenever a person enters from the front door, he has to switch on the button to start the sprinkle system. Then he has to move through the bus to the rear exit so that the sanitising liquid gets sprinkled on him. Then
he can step out from the rear exit."

We love buses

The BusForUs Foundation is an organisation of passionate enthusiasts. President Rohit Dhende says, "We come from various walks of life including students, doctors, and architects. But, the common thread is MSRTC. BusForUs foundation conducts a number of fun activities throughout the year."

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First Published: 19 April, 2020 06:55 IST

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