A young woman who took a private bus to task alleging that the bus dangerously overtook her scooter at Chalissery, near Pattambi, became a social media sensation on Tuesday.
Sandra, daughter of Vijayaraghavan Kuruppath from Perumannaur, near Chalissery, chased the bus for about a kilometre on her scooter and stopped it, after it “nearly hit her from behind” while overtaking.
Sandra claimed that she could feel a gust of air as the bus overtook her on Sunday evening. The bus was heading to Guruvayur from Palakkad. Sandra and her friend chased the bus on the scooter for about a kilometre and stopped it. Sandra stood in front of the bus questioning the driver for his alleged recklessness, while her friend shot the video. She alleged that the driver was wearing earphones when she stopped the bus.
Sandra’s protest against Rajaprabha limited stop bus became a sensation when her video got circulated on social media. People started commenting in support of her, blaming the private buses in general for endangering the lives of motorists and passengers.
The Motor Vehicle department ordered an investigation into the incident. Joint Regional Transport Officer, Pattambi, served a show cause notice on the bus owner and the driver for conducting the service in a dangerous manner. Transport officials said that proper action would be taken against the driver, if found guilty.
The Regional Transport Officer here on Tuesday warned bus operators against speeding and reckless driving.
‘Probe before taking action’
The All Kerala Bus Operators Organisation (AKBOO) said that social media calls should not be the criterion for taking action against a bus or its driver. “We want the transport authorities to investigate the case and ascertain what really happened before taking any action,” said AKBOO State general secretary T. Gopinathan.
Mr. Gopinathan warned that if action was taken against the bus on the basis of “a social media show, then we will have to stop the services.”
“Let the RTO find the truth behind the alleged incident, and take action.”.
All Kerala Private Bus Members State president Manilal C.P., while expressing angst at the terrifying experience that Sandra underwent, said that the poor condition of the roads and the crowding of vehicles were turning out to be the real villains.
“Look at the traffic jam in a town like Ottappalam. It takes about 15 minutes on an average to cross the Ottappalam town. Broken roads are adding to this woe,” said Mr. Manilal and Mr. Gopinathan.
Quoting Sandra, Mr. Manilal said that she had to turn her scooter into a gutter-like area on the side of the road when the bus overtook her. “Damaged road was the reason for this issue, and not the bus which had lost several minutes because of traffic jams. Nobody, not even the media, approaches the issues from a bus worker’s perspective,” said Mr. Manilal.
The BJP Kapur unit, meanwhile, felicitated Sandra for her courageous protest against the excesses of private buses. BJP Kapur mandal president Dinesan Eravanakkad, general secretary K. Narayanan Kutty, and treasurer K.C. Kunhan were among those who felicitated Sandra.