Lucknow: An Uttar Pradesh minister on July 10 said bus drivers should take a nap or practise Vajrasana following a heavy meal, so that they don’t doze off at the wheel — advice which comes after a road accident killed 29 people recently.
At a press conference here, UP Transport minister Swatantradev Singh said an enquiry committee report into the Yamuna Expressway accident has suggested that the driver fell asleep.
Twenty-nine people were killed and 18 injured as the state-run Lucknow-Delhi bus plunged into a drain off the expressway near Agra.
The enquiry committee constituted by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was asked to submit its report to the state government within 24 hours.
The minister said he got the Vajrasana tip from a video made by Sadhguru. Vajrasana is a basic sitting posture in yoga.
“I was watching a video yesterday,” he told reporters. “The video instructed that if anyone is driving after a full meal, he should take a 30-minute break. That is, when he eats, he should either take a nap or sit in Vajrasana for 20 minutes and then go,” the minister said.
When asked why the route of the bus was changed, Singh said there were no passengers for Ghazipur that day, but several people were heading to Agra or Delhi.
“The passengers wanted the bus to depart as soon as possible. The driver was also ready for this,” he said.
“The driver of the ill-fated bus had joined after three days of leave. He had a good track record and was involved in only one accident in the past. He had an experience of eight or nine years,” the transport minister said.
“No action can be taken against the driver as he is dead. But if officials on checking duty on the route were missing, action will be taken against them,” he said.
Singh said his department has received suggestions like installing crash barriers, increasing the number of rumble strips, deputing two drivers on long-distance buses and prominently displaying the helpline number. He said safety vigil by department officials would be stepped up on the Yamuna Expressway.
The accident was the latest in a series of fatal mishaps on the 165-km highway. This year alone, at least 77 people have died in accidents on the expressway, according to data accessed by NGO SaveLIFE Foundation through a Right to Information query.
The NGO said over 700 lives were lost in 4,880 accidents between August 2012, when the expressway was opened for commercial operations, and January last year. Built at a cost of Rs 12,839 crore, the expressway is managed by Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA).
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