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Pune activists raise concern over PMPML bus burning incidents, blame administration for poor maintenance

On December 6, two PMPML buses caught fire, one each in Pimpri and near RTO area. The buses caught fire when they were moving.

pune Updated: Dec 08, 2017 15:19 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,PMPML,bus fire
On December 6, two PMPML buses caught fire, one each in Pimpri and near the regional transport office (RTO) area.(HT Photo)

With the incidents of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses catching fire seeing a rise in the past few days, civic activists have blamed PMPML for the poor maintenance of its vehicles and have appealed to the Regional Transport Officer to look into the matter immediately.

On December 6, two PMPML buses caught fire, one each in Pimpri and near RTO area. The buses caught fire when they were moving. However, there were no injuries in the case. In the past four months, this is the fourth incident where a PMPML bus has caught fire.

The convenor of Pedestrians First, Prashant Inamdar, wrote a letter to both PMPML chairman Tukaram Munde and the regional transport officer BI Ajari and appealed to them to look into the matter immediately saying that the issue is directly related to the safety of commuters and citizens passing through the street .

The PMPML, however, refuted allegations of poor maintenance saying that the inquiry into fire incidents is on.

PMPML chairman and managing director Tukaram Munde told Hindustan Times,“The PMPML is conducting an inquiry in the bus fire incidents and we are checking whether there is a maintenance problem or a systematic problem. If all the buses have systematic problems, PMPML will rectify it. All the buses which are catching fire are mainly owned by private contractors. The maintenance of buses by PMPML is good.”

Another civic activist Jugal Rathi said that public transport should be safe and affordable. “The irony is that PMPML is lacking everywhere. As the maintenance of buses is poor, the breakdown ratio of the PMPML buses is increasing,” said Rathi.

Inamdar said, “There have been four cases of buses catching fire in the recent past. This is quite shocking. It is only a matter of good fortune that there have not been any fatalities of commuters. Buses catching fire on the road is also a grave hazard for other road users.Such cases have been very rare in the past but repeated incidents now raise serious concerns.”

Inamdar also questioned the pattern of the vehicles catching fire. “Besides the maintenance aspect, there is a need to investigate whether there are any ulterior reasons.”

“There could be many more buses which could be having some problem. Such buses are being operated even though they are not fit and safe for operation. RTO being the statutory authority in the matter of vehicle fitness should take a serious view of the repeated incidents of bus accidents for various reasons related to lack of operational fitness. It is criminal that such buses are operating on the road posing serious threat to the lives of commuters and other road users,” Inamdar said.

Rathi blamed that the PMPML administration is only taking action against officers and staff but ignoring the main issues like maintenance and affordability.

Munde said, “The allegations made by civic activists are not true. In fact after I joined the organisation, PMPML has given major focus to improving the maintenance of the buses. About Wednesday’s incident, PMPML is conducting an inquiry. Primarily, it looks like a case of short circuit but we will need to check whether the contractors made any alteration in the bus system.”

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 15:18 IST