Rickety buses from Tamil Nadu turn fear factor on Kerala hills

Though the buses in the public and private sectors in Kerala are subjected to rigorous fitness tests every year, authorities in Tamil Nadu are generally lenient on the buses owned by the government.

Rajakumari (Idukki): Tamil Nadu government’s rickety buses have posed a safety issue in the winding mountainous areas along the Kerala border. An accident involving a Tamil Nadu state transport corporation bus at Rajakkad has revived calls for frequent checks to ensure that the buses are in good shape.

Though the buses in the public and private sectors in Kerala are subjected to rigorous fitness tests every year, authorities in Tamil Nadu are generally lenient on the buses owned by the government. As a result, the Tamil Nadu buses are mostly old and in urgent need of repair.

The bus that caused the accident at Rajakkad hit an auto rickshaw as its brakes were faulty. Eyewitnesses said that the bus was rashly driven and the driver could not apply brakes on time.

The auto rickshaw driver, Jijo, was taken to a hospital with a head injury. At least 10 such buses from Tamil Nadu pass through the border town of Bodimet daily. Another 20 buses ply through Cumbummettu and Kumily. The Tamil Nadu government has pressed more buses into service to meet the pilgrims’ rush to the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala.

Most of them are so old and rickety that passengers get to their destinations all soaked after a good rain.

Motor vehicles authorities in Kerala are empowered to take to task any vehicle that ply on the state’s roads but the officers seldom bother to intercept a bus belonging to a neighboring state out of goodwill.

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