Private opertors say considerable amount of money and time was wasted to comply with this norm.
Almost all buses — private as well as belonging to Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) in Dakshina Kannada district — have complied with the mandatory norm of installing emergency exit doors.
The rule was made mandatory after two Volvo buses, which operated from Karnataka near Mahabubnagar in Andhra Pradesh and Haveri in Karnataka, were involved in two accidents in the last quarter of 2013.
While 45 persons were charred to death in the Mahabubnagar accident, seven were killed at Haveri .
Afzal Ahmed Khan, Regional Transport Officer, Dakshina Kannada, told The Hindu that more than 90 per cent of buses in the district had complied with the norm. The department has been keeping a strict vigil and seizing buses, if found without emergency exit doors, he said. Fitness certificates of buses will not be renewed if they are not equipped with emergency exit doors, he said.
After the deadline was over on April 30, the department seized more than 35 buses, including a few belonging to KSRTC, and released them after the owners gave an undertaking to install emergency doors, Mr. Khan said.
KSRTC Managing Director N. Manjunath Prasad told The Hindu that all buses of the corporation had been fitted with emergency exit doors. Private buses, too, numbering about 3,000 in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, have followed the norm, according to Canara Bus Owners’ Association President Rajavarma Ballal.‘Wasteful exercise’
Though private operators have abided by the decision, Mr. Ballal said it was a wasteful exercise. “I can understand the need for emergency exits in air-conditioned coaches. Why should there be emergency exits in ordinary buses which have wide windows either fitted with glass panes or tarpaulin curtains,” he said.
The operators still followed the directive as they did not want to be harassed by Transport Department officials, he said.
Considerable amount of money and time was wasted to comply with this norm, Mr. Ballal said.