New Delhi: The Central Government has issued new norms for sleeper coach buses after a recent fire accident on a bus in Maharashtra killed 25 people and injured many others. The new norms aim to help passengers escape quickly in case of an emergency.
According to the new norms, all new sleeper buses will have to provide a hammer at every berth, so that passengers can break the glass windows and hatches easily. The buses will also have to install retro-reflective tapes from seats and berths to all exit gates, including emergency doors, to guide the passengers to the nearest exit point.
The Ministry of Road Transport has instructed the bus operators and bodybuilders to comply with the norms as soon as possible. The ministry said that the changes were made based on the lessons learned from the fire incident on the Nagpur-Mumbai Samridhi Highway, where most of the passengers died of suffocation before they could be rescued.
The ministry also said that it may make it mandatory for all bus bodybuilders to get their products approved by a third party as per the Bus Body Code. The ministry said that the popularity of sleeper buses has increased in recent years due to the improved road network and online ticketing platforms, and hence passenger safety needs to be ensured.