Fire estinguishers to be installed in 21000 buses as tender called by KSRTC
Bengaluru: Learning from the recent fire in a KSRTC bus at Nelamangala in Bengaluru Rural district, which claimed a woman’s life, authorities have started the process of installing fire extinguishers in buses belonging to all the four transport corporations in the state.
The tender for installing fire extinguishers in 21,597 buses belonging to KSRTC, BMTC, NEKRTC and NWKRTC was called on Tuesday. Officials estimate the cost to be about Rs 2 crore.
Though the Motor Vehicles Act mandates that all passenger vehicles in the category of buses should have fire extinguishers, the state-run corporations had not followed the rule citing exemption from the Transport department.
“Besides exemption, fire accidents were rare in the buses run by state transport corporations. Even then, it stopped at damages to the vehicle as passengers escaped unhurt. Fatalities had never occurred because of fire till the Nelamangala incident,” a senior official in KSRTC said.
A 58-year-old woman was killed and four sustained burns after a KSRTC bus from Sringeri caught fire near Nelamangala in February this year. “We believe there were inflammable materials on the bus which led to the blaze. We are still awaiting a forensic report to know the cause of fire. But, we decided to enhance safety of passengers,” KSRTC managing director Umashankar told DH.
On April 1, yet another bus caught fire in Shiradi Ghat but there were no injuries. A major tragedy was averted last year when a BMTC bus carrying 50 students caught fire near Channapatna in Ramanagaram district.
According to the tender, a portable fire extinguisher of 2-kg capacity will be provided for each bus. “During a fire incident, the first few minutes are crucial. A fire extinguisher on board the bus is the best way to put out the fire or at least control it till passengers exit the vehicle,” the official said.