Fire on Mumbai’s BEST bus was caused by short-circuit in driver’s cabin: Report


Fire on Mumbai’s BEST bus was caused by short-circuit in driver’s cabin: Report

Two days after a Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus caught fire at Matunga, a primary investigation report revealed that it was caused by a short-circuit in the electric control panel in the driver’s cabin. The report was tabled in front of the BEST committee, the undertaking’s policy-making body, on Friday.

“The manufacturer has been asked to repair the partially-burnt bus at its own expense, as it was just two years old,” reads the report. BEST will also inspect 184 other buses in its fleet that were brought from the same manufacturer in 2017.

On Wednesday around 4.15pm, a Worli-bound single-decker bus, plying on route number 27 from Vaishali Nagar in Mulund, caught fire near Maheshwari Udyan in Matunga. The 10 passengers on-board and crew members escaped unhurt. According to the primary report, the fire broke out in the driver’s cabin and then spread to the passenger saloon.

In his written testimony, the conducter said that he was unable to remove the fire extinguisher fitted in the driver’s cabin. The driver said that he tried to use four extinguishers from a nearby hotel and three from other buses passing through the area, but the fire was out of control. Following this, the fire brigade was alerted.

Taking note of the driver’s testimony, the BEST panel slammed the administration for poor maintenance of the buses. They questioned why such an incident occurred even though the bus had undergone maintenance just 20 days ago.

This is the second such incident in three months. On May 3, a bus on route number 646 caught fire near Gokuldham Market stop in Malad (East) owing to compressed natural gas (CNG) leakage. Anil Patankar, chairman of the BEST committee, said incidents like this adversely impact the image of the undertaking. “Passengers won’t dare to travel on the buses if they fear that BEST buses are unsafe,” he said.

A spokesperson for Tata Motors, the manufacturer, said, “All Tata Motors vehicles strictly adhere to the highest standards of testing, inspection and certification, assuring safety and quality. We have not received any written communication from BEST regarding the recent incident. We will continue to assist the said party in further investigation.”

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