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23 May 2019, Edition - 1409, Thursday

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Coimbatore

Driver of fateful Ooty bus forced to drive with faulty brakes

Tysion Prabhu B

Coimbatore: Poor maintenance of Government buses coupled with carelessness of drivers is said to reason for Thursday’s accident in Ooty which claimed eight lives Preliminary investigation in the case where the driver lost control of the bus pointed to poor brake condition of the bus. Despite complaints, officers had urged the driver to operate the bus.

Sources said the driver operating the bus between Thangadu and Oranelli had complained about the poor brake condition and left the bus in the garage on Wednesday. Driver Rajkumar was operating the service between Melkundha and Coonoor. On Thursday, officers asked him to operate the bus, despite its condition.

AITUC unit president Gunasekar told The Covai Post that buses were not being maintained properly. New buses should be introduced in hill stations after every six years but this was not being done. The bus which fell into the gorge had been in service for the last eight years. While it’s capacity was 44, 63 people travelled in it on Thursday.

It was also important to ensure that drivers had proper rest. There have been complaints that drivers in service in Ooty did not get proper rest and often were denied their weekly off.
This is because there are not enough staff and drivers are asked to work continuously for three to four days. Though the matter had been raised several times, there has been no response from the authorities.

Though the transport department is controlled by the Government, there was no proper allocation of funds, said AITUC general secretary Syed Ibrahim. Long distance buses should be serviced daily and the town ones every week.

There are targets set for drivers who should operate for minimum of 250km per day and should drive in an economical way i.e. 5km per litre. This results in speed and accidents, it was pointed out.

Work time of drivers should be regulated and they should have their weekly off, he said.

should be provided with proper weekly holiday.The department and the Government are responsible for the accident, he said, adding that employment should be given to to a family member of the conductor who died in the accident.

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