First aid box, the missing factor in buses March 31, 2006Posted by scan man in Life in India, Medicine, News.
This is an article by Mr. Karthik Madhavan that was published in the front page of the local edition of 'The Hindu' today. Though it tells the story in Erode district, I am quite sure that it would be true of any district in the country.
(at left is the 'gopuram' of the Srivilliputtur Andal Temple which is the Tamil Nadu Stage Government's emblem)
ERODE: Most of you, while travelling in a bus from here, must have watched television. In fact, keeping in mind the convenience of the passengers, most private buses here have installed two televisions – for passengers seated on either side of the pathway. This has become the norm in this district, almost.In the Government-run Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses that do not have televisions, at least there are radio sets to keep the passengers entertained, what with the 24-hour FM stations beaming film songs.But, have you noticed a small box that is important. It is supposed to be behind the driver's seat, beneath the television sets, visible for the passengers – the first-aid box.It is difficult to spot it because most of the buses do not have one, and if they have, not as per the rules to say the least.Section 172 clause 5 of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, says: "It shall be a condition of every permit of a transport vehicle that the vehicle shall carry a first-aid box containing the following articles: i) a copy of the first-aid leaflet; ii) twenty-four sterilised finger dressings; iii) twelve sterilised hand or foot dressings; iv) twelve sterilised large body dressings; v) one extra large, two large and three small sterilised burn dressings; vi) two 15-gram packets of sterilised cotton wool; vii) a bottle with two per cent tincture of iodine; viii) a bottle of sal volatile(first aid medicine); ix) an empty bottle filled with cork and camel hair brush for eye drop; x) a 50-millilitre medicine glass.The punishment for non-compliance: a mere Rs. 200, that too only for private vehicles.For the Government vehicles, the list of erring vehicles is sent to the District Collector who takes it up with the TNSTC officials, transport office sources said.A TNSTC bus conductor said the drivers and conductors were interested only in the moving parts and tyres for the safe running of the vehicle. "For us the presence or absence of the first-aid box does not make a difference."He said the Corporation filled the first-aid box only at the time of taking the vehicle to the Regional Transport Office for the once-in-six-month, mandatory fitness certificate.