After CM Fadnavis apology, Shivneri bus driver sent back to training school

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Pune – In the age of social media, a simple Tweet can also get you help from the highest authority in the state.

A woman travelling in car saw the Shivneri bus reportedly zigzagging on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in the ghat section near Lonavala on Sunday when it was raining heavily.

Considering safety of the passengers and other vehicles, paediatric cardiologist Dr Usha Pratap who was returning from a medical conference with a colleague tweeted at around 7 PM, “MH 06S9485 #Shivneri #MSRTC Mumbai to Pune #PuneExpressway is driving very rashly in the rain. Zigzagging (sic).”

She had tagged Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. And prompt came the reply from the Chief Minister who apologized and promised action against the driver.

Around 9 PM, Fadnavis tweeted back, “Apologies! Action will be taken against driver Sandip for rash driving after due inquiry. Bus reached Pune @8.45 pm safely.”

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) operates air-conditioned Volvo buses under “Shivneri” brand between Mumbai and Pune.

The Shivneri bus (MH 06 S 9485) from Borivali, Mumbai to Swargate, Pune, on Sunday, was being driven by Sandip Bhalekar (25). The bus departed from Borivali at 3.30 pm and was scheduled to reach Pune at 8.30 pm. The bus reached the ghat section at 7.10 pm. The Expressway which is fully concrete road becomes slippery due to incessant rains.

After the incident MSRTC suspended Bhalekar and sent him for 15 days training at their driving school.

Bhalekar said, “I started driving MSRTC buses in February but there has no complaint against me. On Sunday I was driving the bus with 25 passengers. A truck was ahead of the bus and I was trying to go ahead.”