KSRTC has taken steps to enforce compulsory safety precautions

Two back-to-back tragedies involving air-conditioned buses operated by private tour operators in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have set alarm bells ringing for officials in charge of intercity bus operations in the Mysore division of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) here.

Thursday’s Haveri accident killed seven passengers, while 45 people died in Mahabubnagar, Andhra Pradesh, in a similar accident on October 30.

In the light of these two tragedies, the KSRTC here, as a precautionary measure, has taken steps to enforce safety precautions strictly and compulsorily. Instructions have been conveyed to the drivers and conductors in this regard.

With Mysore rural division of KSRTC being the second-largest division in the State after the Bangalore central division operating long-distance inter-State operations, the authorities here are also exploring various other options to ensure safety for passengers. “The mechanical engineers at the depots have been told to make doubly sure that the buses are in fitting condition for operation before they move out of the depots. Every aspect has to be checked and tested by the technical team. There should not be any room for deficiency in buses,” said Srinivas, divisional controller, KSRTC, Mysore rural division.

Mr. Srinivas told The Hindu that the manager and assistant manager in each depot has been told to sensitise drivers on safe driving and have told them to give periodic training to hone their skills and knowledge on the mechanical aspects of the bus.

He said strict instructions have been given to drivers and conductors not to carry goods which they find suspicious and are inflammable. Barring suitcases, airbags and other small luggage, other goods will not be carried in buses. If passengers insist, they must reveal what they are carrying to the drivers or conductors before the journey. Drivers and conductors are being subjected to special training on safety, such as emergency exit, at the Central Training Institute here. A batch of 20 drivers and conductors are trained daily, he said. It is mandatory to equip each bus, irrespective of its class, with a portable fire extinguisher. But, many buses lack this basic facility.

However, Mr. Srinivas said he will conduct an audit on fire extinguishers (in working condition) in all buses under his division. “I agree there are no fire extinguishers in some old buses, but Volvo buses and the buses added to the fleet in recent years are equipped with fire extinguishers with 1-kg capacity. We will ensure that they are there in all buses soon,” he said. Mr. Srinivas also said he will ask the engineers at the depots to conduct demonstrations on using fire extinguishers to the drivers and conductors. They will also demonstrate how to use these tools in emergency situations.

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