A bus ferrying students of Delhi Public School (DPS), Pinjore, fell on its side, crushing an 11-year-old student who fell out of the window, on Mallah road in Pinjore near here on Thursday morning.
The school bus ferried students from Sectors 20, 21 and 25 of Panchkula. There were about 25 students in the bus when the driver, Sher Singh, lost control as he tried to negotiate a sharp curve and avoid hitting an auto-rickshaw. Manav Garg, a student of Class 6, fell out of the window and the bus on him. The driver, who suffered minor injuries, has been booked and remained at large.
(Manav Singla, who died in the accident)
Fortunately, some more buses of DPS-Pinjore were coming from behind and the students and teachers in them rescued the injured. Two students were rushed to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh where Manav was declared brought dead. His post-mortem examination would be carried out in the Kalka civil hospital. Manav's father Sanjeev Garg is into the business of gravel.
(The DPS bus which met with an accident on Mallah road in Pinjore, near Panchkula,
on Thursday. Sant Arora/HT)
"Manav's younger brother Monu was also inside the bus. He received minor injuries," said Rajinder Arya, a family friend of the Gargs. At their house, relatives and friends rushed to offer condolences; wails could be heard outside. "The child used to be very lively and good in studies. His mother is inconsolable," said Arya.
In all, 16 people got injured in the accident, of whom 10 were taken to General Hospital, Sector 6. Five were discharged after preliminary treatment. Nitin, 11, suffered fracture in the hand. "We will definitely take up the issue of safety of children with the school," said Vikrant Chaudhary, father of Nitin. Deputy commissioner SS Phulia and Kalka sub-divisional magistrate Manita Malik visited the hospital and met the injured students.
"We have registered a case against driver Sher Singh for rash driving and causing death by negligence under sections 279 and 304A of the Indian Penal Code, on a complaint by a school nurse who was present in the bus," said Pinjore police station house officer (SHO), inspector Raj Kumar.
Barely two months ago, on July 16, three persons - the school van driver and a student each of classes 7 and 10 - had died in nearby Kharar when a private bus speeding on the Morinda-Ludhiana highway rammed the vehicle carrying children to a school.
How it happened: The killer curve
When one gets onto the Mallah road from the Panchkula-Shimla highway, there is a steep fall and then a sharp curve. As per eyewitnesses, when the allegedly speeding school bus was negotiating the blind curve, an auto-rickshaw emerged from the opposite side. To avoid a collision, the driver swerved but the bus lost balance and fell on one side. There is no sign of warning as one approaches the curve.
On April 9, 2009, a 24-year old woman was killed and about 70 other students injured when a Haryana Roadways had rolled down the 120-ft gorge on the road while negotiating this curve.
Violations of court rules?
Regarding any possible violation of directions of the high court in case of school buses, deputy commissioner of police Ashwin Shenvi said, "Technically, the bus was not overloaded. As for other violations, we need to check after the arrest of the driver."
The driver was in uniform and there was a conductor, Mewa Singh, too in the bus. But the first-aid box was empty. "The driver was experienced. There is no doubt about it," said Samson Masih, principal of DPS-Pinjore.
As per HC directions, the driver has to have 5-year experience and an experienced conductor should be with him. The driver and conductor must undergo refresher courses required for them at least once in 2 years and must get certificates. Also, the school bus must not be driven at over 50kmph and have a stocked first-aid box.