At least 45 killed as bus catches fire in Andhra Pradesh
At least 45 killed as bus catches fire in Andhra Pradesh ANI/Twitter

The horrific bus accident in which 45 passengers were burnt to death, in Mahbubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, might affect private operators in the state.

More than 170 private and state buses ply on the Bangalore-Hyderabad route, which is one busiest roads in the country. At least 80 of the total number of buses are run by private companies.

Cashing in on the festive season of Diwali and the long weekend, private bus operators drastically slash their fares far lower than what it costs to board state buses, in a move to lure more passengers.

The Hindu quoted a Karnataka Transport department official as saying that private operators function at their own convenience. The source added that except for renowned private companies, other bus operators in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh do not adhere to any specific standards.

A KSRTC driver told Bangalore Mirror, "The state-run buses are safe in comparison. Strict instructions are given to drivers not to exceed 90 kmph, which will lead to good mileage as well."  

The tragedy struck when the driver of Jabbar Travels Volvo bus tried to overtake another vehicle and lost control. The bus hit a divider on a culvert and the fuel tank exploded, causing the fire to spread quickly.

Here are the latest developments of the tragic bus accident

  • The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has taken the incident seriously and requested the NATRIP under the Ministry of Heavy Industry, which has specialized accident crash investigation vehicle and team, to immediately enquire into the incident and suggest ways to prevent repetition of such incidents.
  • The State Government has also been requested to enquire upon and suggest remedial measures. While the detailed investigation will take time, based on the first-hand reports, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways is sending advisory to the States Governments to notify on and within the coach/bus, 24 X 7 monitored phone numbers on which the passengers or bystanders, can call up or SMS, incidents which can cause accidents.
  • Any quick remedy can prevent them from happening, including those related to the driver and the vehicle. The Ministry has also requested the States to make this Notification as necessary condition of the transport permit.
  • Most of the 52 passengers who were on-board the ill-fated bus were under 30 years of age. They were travelling home for Diwali celebrations.
  • Anxious relatives and family of the passengers gathered outside the office of Jabbar Travels near Bangalore's Kalasipalyam bus stand to inquire about the incident.
  • Since the bodies were charred beyond recognition, DNA tests will be performed on the bodies at Osmania General Hospital.
  • Driver Feroze Pasha and cleaner Ayyaz along with five passengers, who managed to escape with burn injuries, have been undergoing treatment at different hospitals, a police officer told Zee News.
  • Priyanka, daughter of a Judge of a special court handling cases under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, also died during the accident.
  • Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed shock and anguish over the bus mishap.
  • Reddy, who has been touring rain-hit north coastal districts of Andhra, said a probe into the ghastly incident would be initiated to prevent recurrence.
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. He also wished a speedy recovery to those injured in the accident.
  • YSR Congress Party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy expressed deep shock and anguish over the tragic accident. Due to the restraining court orders, he said he won't be able to visit the accident scene but directed his party leaders to help in the rescue and relief operations.
  • Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu also expressed shock over the accident and conveyed their sympathies to the victims' kin.