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Maharashtra: Why Samruddhi expressway’s quick response teams failed

Updated on: 02 July,2023 07:36 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ranjeet Jadhav , Rajendra B. Aklekar |

MSRDC official claims that their vehicles arrived at site within eight minutes, but their fire extinguishers couldn’t contain the raging fire

Maharashtra: Why Samruddhi expressway’s quick response teams failed

Fire fighters inspecting the vehicle. Pic/PTI

The first Quick Response Vehicle stationed at key locations by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) arrived at the accident site in less than eight minutes, an MSRDC officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told mid-day. “But despite all the QRVs having fire extinguishers, the impact of the collision was so severe that the fire could not be brought under control,” 
he added.

According to the official, the MSRDC control room was alerted about the crash at 1.52 am. “Our first QRV reached the spot at 1.58 am, followed by seven more QRV. Even though we arrived quickly, we were unable to do much because the impact of the crash was so severe that despite all the QRVs having fire extinguishers, the fire in the bus couldn’t be contained.”

However, the first responder, who arrived at the crash site first, told mid-day that the QRVs didn’t arrive until 25 minutes after the fire. The Sindkhedraja fire brigade, which began the extinguishing operations, came only by 3.15 am, delaying fire fighting operations by over an hour.

The MSRDC official also said that care is being taken to avoid incidents like tyre bursts. The state road body has also been working closely with the Highway Police and the Transport Department to reduce accidents on the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Expressway. “We have been monitoring air pressure in the tyres of the vehicles plying on the stretch... those vehicles with poor quality tyres are not permitted on the motorway,” said the official.

Nitrogen filling, basic air filling, tire inspection and replacement, basic puncture repair is done free of charge for vehicle owners from 7 am to 11 pm. Till date, 15,000 vehicles tyres have been inspected, and a total of 750 vehicles have been denied entry on the highway, as their tyres were not in good shape.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra transport department has ruled out tyre burst as the cause behind the accident. A report submitted by the Maharashtra transport department’s Amravati RTO and Road Safety Cell, stated that they didn’t find any traces of rubber pieces or tyre markings at the spot, that could indicate a burst.

Investigations revealed that the Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate of the bus had expired. The bus was also found to have violated traffic rules earlier, and has two pending fines of Rs 11,200 and Rs 4,500.

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