The regional transport authority (RTA) issued a notice on Tuesday to the Amity International School, Sector 43, for not providing an agreement copy it signed with the transporter as the bus was registered in Delhi.
The notice was served after the school bus carrying 35 students and four staff members caught fire near the busy Huda city centre metro station on Monday morning.
The children were rescued in time and no one was injured in the incident. But the bus was badly burnt.
The RTA said the school has violated the Motor Vehicles Act and Surakshit Vahan policy of the state government and ,hence, it will have to face action. The officials are also investigating whether fire equipment was installed in the bus as mandated.
“The school has violated Section 192-A of the Motor Vehicles Act (carrying passengers without authorisation) and had not submitted the contract paper to us. It had signed an agreement with a tours and travel company. Also, it was the school’s duty to inform us whether the vehicle fulfilled all norms and guidelines,” said Trilok Chand, secretary, RTA.
According to officials, the school buses/vehicles have to be painted yellow with a 254mm strip of dark blue all around the body below the windows. This bus, however, was painted white.
The school authorities said they were not aware of any such clause. The teams from their school headquarters visited the school and are conducting investigations.
“We have never violated any rule or regulation. I was not even aware if we had to submit such a contract document to the RTA. The schools should be kept in the loop regarding all guidelines. If the contractor has not followed the rules and if there is a violation at his end, we will blacklist him from our school,” Dr Anshu Arora, school principal, said.
“The RTA has asked for a copy of the registration papers of the bus as the original ones were burnt in the fire. We are also verifying whether any fire safety equipment was installed in the vehicle or not,” Chand said.
“The RTA suspects that lack of maintenance could be the reason for the fire. We have written to the school authorities and have asked them to submit fitness test reports of the bus. Action will be taken if we come across any anomaly or lack of safety measures,” Chand said.
Bus owner Kuldeep Yadav of Rama Tours and Travels said, “The bus caught fire due to a short circuit near the self-start button. The pollution certificate and registration certificate (RC) and the other documents that were burnt were photocopies and the original documents are with us. Our buses are attached to school for the last five years and there has never been any problem or have they been fined. We run buses on 15 routes for the school and the safety of children is our topmost priority.”