Nashik bus tragedy:Bus operator violated norms; probe ordered

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde on Saturday ordered a comprehensive probe into the bus mishap in Nashik district which claimed over 12 lives so far while 41 people have sustained injuries.

The sleeper coach bus (operated by Chintamani Travels), according to local police, had 53 persons on board including 51 passengers travelling in it while the number of seats was only 30.

Sanjay Rathod, cabinet member, said, a probe will be conducted as to how the bus operator or its staff allowed additional passengers on board.

By evening police registered a case against the drivers of both vehicles involved in the accident.

“We have registered an FIR against the driver of the private bus and the driver of the container trailer truck for causing death by negligence of the passengers travelling in the luxury bus,” police commissioner Jayant Naiknavare said.

A case has been registered under sections 304 (A) (Causing death by negligence ), 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way) 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 ( Causing hurt by an act which endangers human life, etc), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by an act which endangers human life,), 427 (Mischief causing damage to others) of the Indian Penal Code, and sections 184, 134 (A) (B) of Motor Vehicle Act.

Shinde also ordered a study of black spots – accident-prone locations – in Nashik city by police, local body and district administrations and corrective steps to prevent similar accidents in the future.

The chief minister directed the district collector and superintendent of police to conduct a thorough probe and submit a report soon. He also directed officials to provide help to the injured and the families of the victims.

“Instructions have been given to officials to identify black spots in Nashik where accidents occur frequently and take action,” Shinde said after visiting the accident spot in Nashik.

“A meeting will be convened to identify the places in the state where accidents happen frequently and necessary action will be taken,” Shinde added.

Guddu Jayaswal, owner of Chintamani Travels, said, “In the morning, I got a call from my staff that there was an accident involving our bus. We are not sure what exactly happened.”

Naiknaware said, “Police will investigate the matter at our level at the same time as per instructions given by CM; civic body and district collector will investigate the matter simultaneously.”

Naiknaware further added that, as per prima facia, it was observed that, the fire broke out because the bus collided with the truck near the fuel tank, and from there fire broke out.

According to officials from the regional transport officer Nashik, the bus was carrying 53 passengers including the driver and assistant which was far more than the number of seats which stood at 30. The officials believe that driver and helper may have allowed some passengers to board the bus on way to Mumbai after it left Yavatmal.

Pradip Shinde, regional transport officer at Nashik RTO, said, “As per initial enquiry, the bus was carrying 30 passengers as per the booking entry but after the confirmation, we can provide an exact figure. The RTO department will conduct an independent inquiry of this accident and if anybody is found violating any rule then we will take strict actions against them.”

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