Mandya: The private bus named ‘Rajkumar’ which plunged into Visvesvaraya Canal at Kanaganamaradi in Pandavapura taluk of the district, cutting short the lives of 30 passengers, was a 18-year old bus, which had outlived its road fitness.
The bus, having Mangaluru registration, operated for 15 years on Mangaluru-Udupi, changing ownership 8 times in this span, before it was ultimately sold to a person in Mandya.
The bus was registered in Mangaluru (KA-19 A-5676) 18 years ago. After 15 years of completion of service, the then owner of the bus had sold it to one Shankar of Mandya. But Shankar is said to have sold the bus to another person by name Srinivas, also of Mandya about a month ago and it is not known whether bus records were transferred to the name of Srinivas.
Incidentally, Shankar who sold the bus to Srinivas, died 10 days ago and the 11th day ceremony was scheduled for today (Nov.25), it is learnt.
Meanwhile, one J. Shivalingegowda of Kanaganamaradi has lodged a complaint with the Pandavapura Police on the bus accident, in which 30 people lost their lives. Shivalingegowda, in his complaint, has blamed over-speeding and negligence of the driver for the accident.
Mandya has a record of ghastly mishaps
Yesterday’s accident is the latest addition to major accidents across Mandya district over the past four decades. In 1974, a private bus by name ‘Chamundi’ fell into Visvesvaraya Canal near Dudda, in which 15 people including the bus driver had lost their lives.
The bus was ferrying passengers from Jakkanahalli to Mandya, when it plunged into the Canal and the bus was lifted from the Canal using a military crane after a day.
In 2008, about 50 people lost their lives when a private bus plunged into a lake at Kalkuni in Malavalli taluk. However, eight passengers of the bus including the driver, had swam to safety.
In the last mishap, five persons were killed when a lorry, allegedly driven by a drunk driver, ran over them on Mandya-Guttalu Road a couple of months ago.
In Oct. 2017, 14 persons of a marriage party were killed when a tempo carrying them rammed into a roadside tree near Machahalli in Maddur taluk. While 10 of them died on the spot, four others died in the hospital later on.
Apart from these, many fatal accidents have occurred across Mandya in the past few years, in which several people lost their lives.
Second such tragedy for Pandavapura
Saturday’s tragedy at Kanaganamaradi was the second major watery grave incident that has hit Pandavapura taluk in a span of eight years.
On Dec.14, 2010, a total of 31 persons including 26 women, four children and a man, all from different villages in Pandavapura taluks, lost their lives when a maxi-cab in which they were travelling plunged into Undabatti Lake on Mysuru-Nanjangud Road. All the victims, most of them from Sitapura and Aralakuppa villages in Pandavapura taluks, were returning to their village after attending a wedding lunch at Nanjangud.
The maxi-cab was over crowded with over 35 passengers on board. The driver and cleaner of the maxi-cab had fled from the spot soon after the mishap. The ghastly mishap was said to have occurred when the maxi-cab driver tried to over take a vehicle on the curved stretch of the road along the Undabatti Lake.
Bus was declared ‘not road worthy’ two years ago
The ill-fated bus, which plunged into the canal near Kanaganamaradi village in Mandya district, was declared “not road worthy” by the Dakshina Kannada Regional Transport Authority two years ago.
In 2016, the Mangaluru district authorities had cancelled the Certificate of Fitness (FC) and stage carriage permit of the bus bearing registration number KA-19 A-5676 since the vehicle was more than 15 years old.
According to the Mandya RTO office, one Srinivas, a resident of Bandigowda Layout, is the current owner of the bus. The bus was originally registered on June 1, 2001, in the Mangaluru RTO Division. It had started operating between Mandya and Pandavapura, three years ago. The vehicle owner had the fitness certificate of the vehicle valid till May 15, 2019. The bus was also insured till May 15, 2019.
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