Safety of PMPML bus commuters ablaze, say activists
With a total of 16 Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses up in flames in the last 15 months, city activists have raised serious concerns over the safety of commuters using the public transport system.
On Thursday, a PMPML bus enroute Wagholi caught fire on Ahmednagar road. Thirty commuters who were inside the bus had to forcefully open the door and escape the situation.
With four incidents of PMPML buses catching fire in the last three months and 12 in 2017, city activist and founder of PMPML Pravasi Manch, Jugal Rathi said, “PMPML has been neglecting the most crucial aspect of safety of their buses. Also, post the incidences, no contractor was held accountable by the authorities.”
He further added, “PMPML should take serious cognisance of the issue and register a legal case against the contractor. However, the authorities refrain from taking any such firm action.”
Ranjit Gadgil, programme director at city-based NGO Parisar, said, “After such incidences, the PMPML immediately goes on a defensive mode and starts giving technical reasons for the incident. However, no concrete steps are taken by the authorities.”
He further added, “The PMPML organisation is responsible for the damages and they should not run away from taking the responsibility. A proper system needs to be created by the authorities which will keep a regular check of all the buses operated in the city.”
Gadgil urged the Road Transport Authority (RTA) to freeze the permits of the contractors as well as the PMPML if the authorities fail to take enough passengers for safety concerns.
“We have often approached the RTA with our requests to appoint the consultants who identify the loopholes and the lacunae within the authorities. However, all our attempts have been futile,” added Gadgil.
The authorities should immediately start safety audits of all the buses irrespective of whether they are owned by the PMPML or the contractors, said Rathi.
The PMPML bus caught fire on Thursday on Ahmednagar road, near Inorbit mall, raising questions about the safety of passengers commuting through public transport. This is the fourth such incident in three months which has forced PMPML administration to call for a meeting of contractors who provide buses to the utility.