(Published in Millennium Post on 28 June, 2012)
A bus carrying more than 50 passengers overturned on Gemini Flyover in the arterial Anna Salai of Chennai, on Wednesday afternoon. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, and witness accounts blamed it on varied reasons, including speeding, overcrowding, and the driver losing control of the bus.
38 of the passengers were injured in the accident, and were sent to nearby private and government hospitals for medical attention. Of them, 12 have already been discharged, and there are no reports of serious injuries thus far.
The bus, which was plying from Parry’s Corner to Vadapalani, is believed to have fallen off the bridge when the driver took a blind turn. However, the “sharp bend”, which some media reports have blamed the accident on, has been unchanged for the four decades that the flyover has existed.
The Metropolitan Transport Corporation says the driver was speeding. A complaint has been registered at the Pondy Bazaar police station, and the bus driver Prasad, and conductor Hemakumar have been called in for questioning.
Though police and personnel from the fire brigade were rushed to the spot, the bus was removed only two hours after the mishap. Traffic was blocked for several hours, and onlookers crowded the area, causing further confusion.
Bus breakdowns are very common in Chennai, the public transport system of which is struggling to cope with a burgeoning population. With the metro under construction, there have been traffic diversions, causing further congestion on arterial roads. Bus drivers complain that their vehicles are in poor condition, and prone to brake failures and problems in the gearbox.