Panna bus mishap effect: Transport department mulls over increasing penalty by ten times

  • Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: May 26, 2015 18:57 IST

After the May 4 Panna road accident shocker, which left 21 dead and dozens injured, the Madhya Pradesh Transport Department has decided to go tough on bus operators caught flouting rules and regulations and increase penalty by 10 times.

Led by state transport minister Bhupendra Singh, the department has launched a state-wide campaign against errant bus operators and seized over 1,000 vehicles over the past three weeks.

While checking buses on the Bhopal-Indore highway on Monday, Bhupendra Singh said told Hindustan Times: “After the Panna bus mishap, we decided to launch a campaign across the state. I want that all bus operators, who are not following the rules, be booked and their vehicles be seized. Till now we have seized over 1,000 vehicles across the state since the mishap.”

The department is also planning to increase the fine on vehicles plying without permits ten times. It is also planning to increase the penalty on vehicles running without proper fitness certificates.

“These vehicles are not flouting rules, but also endangering the lives of the people travelling on them…If a bus operator doesn’t have permit, he will be penalised three times the permit fee. Soon it will be ten times. We are contemplating to increase the penalty on buses running without proper fitness,” the transport minister said.

The department has decided to disallow passenger and school buses that are more than 15-year-old.

“We we have decided that buses having capacity of 32 passengers will not be permitted to travel more than 75 kilometres. I have also directed that two gates be put in Volvo and sleeper buses within one month,” he said.

The directives come close on the wheels of the Panna bus tragedy, which had fallen off a culvert and caught fire earlier this month.

During investigation it was found that the regional transport officer (RTO), Satna had issued a fitness certificate to the even bus when the emergency gate was blocked by a seat. When the transport minister visited the accident spot, he had suspended RTO Satna Aniruddha Singh with immediate effect.

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