Is the RTO giving errant PMPML buses special treatment?
Residents allege that till date, not a single PMPML bus involved in fatal accidents has had its permit or fitness certificate cancelled, even though the Motor Vehicles Act lays out provisions for such action to be taken
It has emerged that no action is being taken against any of the PMPML buses that are involved in fatal accidents, in gross violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Act states that if any vehicle is involved in fatal accidents in which one or more persons die, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) should cancel the vehicle’s permit and fitness certificate immediately.
Waiting to be repaired: At present, the PMPML has a fleet of 2,400 buses, of which 1,267 are owned by it. Several buses are parked at depots, waiting for repairs. File pic
Over the past two years, there have been over 60 fatal accidents involving PMPML buses in the city. Not a single such bus has had its fitness certificate cancelled by the Pune RTO yet.
“A fitness certificate is issued every year by the RTO to every transport vehicle — including PMPML buses. After a fatal accident, the traffic police go to the spot and do a panchnama. A report is sent to the RTO on the matter and soon after, the vehicle’s transport permit and fitness certificate is cancelled. However, when we asked the Pune RTO about action taken against PMPML buses involved in such accidents, we learnt that no such action has been taken against any of the buses, till date,” said PMP Pravasi Manch President Jugal Rathi.
Rathi added, “If the RTO and traffic police can take action against regular vehicles after fatal accidents, then why not take action against PMPML buses? Nothing is more important than the life of a person. Our demand is that existing laws should be enforced and action should be taken against all vehicles that are involved in fatal accidents,” added Rathi.
At present, the PMPML has a fleet of 2,400 buses, of which 1,267 are owned by it. Another 200 buses are on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis, 377 on rental basis and 205 on contract. The buses often suffer breakdowns and around 450 buses in the current fleet are off the road.
PMPML accident department chief Sanjay Kusalkar said, “In case of any accident, our officer reaches the accident spot and tries to understand the reason behind the accident. We do a panchnama, and a departmental enquiry is done on the driver, but no action is taken against the vehicle. If there is a mechanical fault, a more intensive investigation is carried out in the depot, to find out why it was not maintained properly and who was responsible for it.”
Between April 2012 and April 2014, PMPML buses have been involved in over 60 fatal accidents.
More that 50 per cent of these buses were the ones that are used by PMPML on private contract.
This is a major source of concern for PMPML, as they claim they have no control over the private drivers and the buses that they use.