The 3rd May NTC bus accident had caused quite some stir in the country. Ten passengers had died when the bus crashed, with 44 passengers injured. Six of them, including the bus conductor, Vishamitr Ram Bundhoo, had asked for compensation from the NTC and its insurer SICOM. They argue that the bus company did not ensure that the Blueline bus was indeed in good condition to hit the roads, thereby putting the lives of passengers at risk.
The State Insurance Company Ltd (SICOM) has proposed to give a compensation of Rs 200 000 to each of six injured passengers (who had asked for Rs 97 million) of the Soreze NTC bus accident that occurred on the 3rd of May 2013. The sad event will remain etched in the memory of Mauritians; ten passengers had met with death because of the crash, at a time when the NTC was heavily criticised by the general population as a result of a number of other mishaps.
The six passengers are Sweetee Cannoo, Karishma Cooshna, Usha Devi Dooroondhur, Darshan Chiniah and Goindama Raghoonundon, together with the bus conductor Vishamitr Ram Bundhoo.
The six plaintiffs argue that there exists a contract between the NTC and them from the moment they entered the bus and paid the bus fare. They complain of the company not having taken the necessary measures to ascertain that the passengers can travel safely in their vehicles.
In one of the complaints, it is written that:
“The Plaintiff avers that there was a valid ‘contrat de transport’ between him and Defendant No 1 (CNT) and the latter has failed in its obligation de sécurité”
Moreover, the bus conductor, Vishamitr Ram Bundhoo, asserts that the bus driver, Deepchand Guness, who died in the bus accident, had informed him that the brakes were not operating. He added that Deepchand Guness did the best he could to avoid the accident. The driver was indeed portrayed as a hero in the aftermath of the crash, but, it was also argued that he might have had some responsibility in the accident, as was put forward by some witnesses in the court case.
The bus conductor also said that the bus company did not take into consideration his complaint that the brakes of the Blueline.
Following the demands of the six passengers, SICOM made them a proposal: Rs 200 000 to each of them. The legal advisers of the group are currently studying the offer, and have not given a final reply.