A single decker midi bus of the BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking rammed into a traffic signal post on Tuesday morning, after the driver suffered a heart attack while driving.
The bus was travelling on route number 381 (Ghatkopar (east) to Tata power station) and the incident took place around 10:45 am at Basant Park, near Chembur station.
According to the BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade, the driver, identified as Haridas Patil (53), developed chest pain while driving. He suddenly lost control of the bus and suffered a heart attack. The bus hit a traffic signal post, damaging a small vegetable shop on the adjacent footpath. "There were only nine passengers inside the bus and nobody was injured. The bus driver lost consciousness and was rushed to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar," Varade told the Free Press Journal. The condition of the passenger improved as the day progressed, he added.
Those present at the scene informed that one of the passengers was a police personnel and the driver was rushed to the local Rajawadi Hospital in a police vehicle.
Meanwhile, this incident drew criticism. Members of the BEST management committee and employee union have blamed the undertaking for not paying enough attention to the health infrastructure of the workers.
Senior Congress corporator and BEST committee member Ravi Raja stated that BEST needs to have SOPs at every depot to daily monitor the health conditions of its employees. "Heart attacks don't happen suddenly. Its symptoms develop with time and this needs to be monitored by doctors. In each depot, there is one doctor. But what are they doing? This is not the first time a BEST employee fell ill on duty," Raja told the Free Press Journal.
JM Kahar, general secretary, BEST Kamgar Sangathana stated, "The management has failed to provide the needs of the employees. Even amidst the pandemic, they are being harsh on employees and not paying them for leaves and are imposing pay cuts instead.”