Did overcrowding lead to Kondagattu bus accident?
Though the passenger capacity of the ill-fated Palle Velugu bus was 59, it had 100 on board
Did overcrowding of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) bus lead to the ghastly accident which claimed 57 persons on the ghat road of the Kondagattu temple shrine in Kodimial mandal of Jagtial district on Tuesday?
While the investigation is on regarding the cause of the accident, TSRTC officials told The Hindu that while the passenger capacity of the ill-fated Palle Velugu bus is 59, 100 people were on board.
The Jagtial depot bus was travelling from Shanivarampeta to Jagtial and started its journey at around 10.45 a.m.
Traversing Himmathrapeta and Ramsagar villages, it reached Kondagattu temple to let more passengers on board as there was heavy pilgrim rush on Tuesday, a day considered auspicious at the shrine.
The bus would have reached Jagtial by covering Muthyampet village and Mallial crossroads. Though authorities have banned plying of TSRTC buses on the ghat road, the transport juggernaut is said to be operating the bus on the route to cash in on the demand.
Even after boarding of the passengers, the bus would have reached safely to Jagtial had it travelled via Dongalamarri village. But, the already overloaded bus, traversed through the ghat road in an attempt to cut distance by 10 km., and plunged into the gorge at around 11.45 a.m.
Due to the impact, passengers were crushed to death and several others sustained serious injuries. Many passengers died of suffocation as they fell on each other. Locals rushed to the spot and rescued the injured passengers and shifted them to hospitals.
The villagers said the bus was travelling at a high speed on the ghat road. They said it jumped over a speed-breaker, hit a side of an autorickshaw and later, in order to avoid hitting a car, lost control after climbing over another speed-breaker and plunged into the gorge crossing over the safety barricades. It nose-dived and caused the instant death of 26 persons, including its driver, Srinivas.
While several succumbed to injuries, others are undergoing treatment in various hospitals in Karimnagar and Jagtial towns.
While sources claimed the bus was outdated, unfit to be put into service, and that its brakes failed, TSRTC officials maintained that it was put through a fitness test on August 9. An official requesting anonymity said: We do a fitness test every month or quarter. The bus was commissioned in 2007. It clocked approximately 14.5 lakh km.
The official said that buses will not ply on the route till further instructions.
A probe has been ordered and the depot manager has been suspended.
Touching upon speculation that the bus’ suspension was faulty, the official said, “The bus is still at the spot. We will get to know the cause of the accident once the inquiry is completed.”
Conductor in a state of shock
Officials said they are waiting for the conductor to recover from a state of shock. “We are sure the conductor can give us a good idea of what happened. He is safe and recovering,” an official said.
PostedOn: 12 Sep 2018
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