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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

BEST bus catches fire

Neha Ghatpande and Shashank Rao, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 14, 2011
First Published: 01:23 IST(14/1/2011) | Last Updated: 01:24 IST(14/1/2011)

A 45-year-old man suffered 20% burns after a Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus running on compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel caught fire in Andheri.

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The passenger, Vinod Solanki, was taken to Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle.

The incident took place around 7.45am on bus route number 4 limited from Oshiwara to Backbay.

The bus had halted at the signal in Andheri near Juhu lane when there were sparks and the bus caught fire. Realising that something was wrong, the driver and the conductor immediately asked the passengers to get out of the bus.

Solanki, a BEST employee, was on his way home to Santacruz after the night shift. “When we realised that something is wrong with the bus we all rushed out. I was standing near the bus when it went up in flames,” said Solanki.

Solanki has suffered burns on his middle and lower body. His family, which includes a wife and three children, has been promised compensation by the BEST.

According to the BEST, the CNG pipeline of the bus suddenly broke resulting in leakage of gas that accumulated at the rear portion underneath the bus. Although the reason for the breakage is not clear, the BEST has initiated an inquiry into the same.

“Our engineers have already started their investigations. If the company that manufactured the bus is found guilty for malfunction, then it will have to pay the deserved compensation,” said Sanjay Potnis, chairman of the BEST committee.

Ashok Leyland has manufactured the bus.

This is the first non air-conditioned CNG bus that has caught fire, thus raising questions about  the safety of lakhs of passengers. Around 1,900 BEST buses out of 4,600 are run on CNG.

In a bid to prevent such incidents, the BEST will start inspection of its CNG run buses from Friday, said Potnis.


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