Nearly four months after 45 passengers aboard a Volvo bus were charred to death at Palem in Mahbubnagar, Crime Investigation Department (CID) officials on Wednesday said Swedish auto majors Volvo buses were not suitable for Indian conditions. They said a report will be sent to the Union government shortly informing about this. The CID sleuths made Volvo an accused in the ghastly incident.Briefing the media here on Wednesday, CID additional director-general T Krishna Prasad said that after conducting the probe, investigators concluded that besides negligence of the bus driver and faulty geometry of the road, there were several loopholes in the design of the Volvo bus, which led to the mishap on the fateful day.Since 2005, five major accidents took place involving Volvo buses in various parts of the country and 43 persons died and 53 suffered injuries, the CID official said.
Volvo buses plying in India have a battery below the drivers seat and behind it the main 300-litre diesel tank is located, the CID chief said. When the bus had hit a culvert, a rod on its railing first pierced the fuel tank and then the bus body by disturbing the flooring of the bus, made of wood. Due to the impact of the bus hitting the culvert, the sparks emitted from the battery immediately ignited the already punctured 300-litre diesel tank. The bus was also supported by two more auxiliary tanks which were of 150-litre capacity each.The first impact of any accident involving Volvo will be on the battery, which is near the fuel tank made of plastic. So, the sparks from the battery can easily trigger a fire mishap in a Volvo bus. Unlike other buses, the floor of the Volvo is made of wood instead of metal.
We will send the report to the Union government informing that design of the Volvo bus used in India is not road worthy, Krishna Prasad said adding that Volvos bus design varies from country to country.The investigators found that the location of emergency exit was notified in the bus, but the greedy Jabbar travels and owner of the bus (Diwakar Roadlines) put up additional seats to make more money. Similarly, the last row of seats in the bus was illegally built as it was meant for the second driver, who on the fateful day was not on the bus.For the defective geometry of the road near the culvert, which is in deviation to the actual road design, the contractor and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials were made accused. Till now, 36 sections were slapped against the accused and nine persons were arrested.