Saturday, April 12, 2008

BEST seeks reasons for bus blaze

BEST has asked suppliers of the King Long buses to provide definite reasons for the blaze that gutted one of the new air-conditioned buses on Thursday.

BEST’s new chairman, Pravin Chheda, said on Friday that future contracts might be terminated if the supplier was not able to provide a reason for the blaze.

The BEST committee would not pass the proposal to purchase 40 more King Long buses till the company gave a “proper response’’, he said. Besides, the supplier should replace the gutted bus with a new one as the warranty period was yet to be over, he added.

Thursday’s blaze — which gutted an empty King Long bus returning from Thane’s Cadbury Junction — was apparently caused by a short-circuit in its rear engine, officials said, adding that the blaze put a question mark on the vehicle’s safety record. A BEST internal team is expected to submit a detailed report in two days.

“It’s a costly bus and such accidents can hurt passengers,’’ Chheda said.

A similar accident, involving a short-circuit-caused fire in the rear engine, plagued the Tata Starbus soon after it was deployed by BEST in 2006; there were three incidents in as many buses supplied by Tata Motors

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