The use of private vans to transport schoolchildren has been highlighted once again as an unsafe option a 45-year old school driver was arrested on Wednesday on charges of molesting a five-year-old girl in the vehicle. Police said there was no teacher or women security guard present in the van, as mandated by the Haryana government’s Surakshit Vahan policy.
A notice has also been issued by the police to the school to explain whether the norms stipulated by the administration were followed or not. The incident assumes significance as the transport authority had recently announced a ban on use of private vans to transport but later revoked the order after protests by van owners and a section of parents.
However, the lack of any security measures and absence of any school representative in the vehicle has proved to be a major lacunae leading to accidents or cases of harassment of children.
Police said in most cases, the drivers and vans are not verified, which leads to such incidents. “The parents must ensure that there are adequate safeguards while using private vans. They should also make the children aware about the safe touch and bad touch and keep an open line of communication,” said Sudhir Kumar, SHO, Sector 40 police station.
A number of incidents were also reported last year in which schoolchildren faced harassment in vehicles. In September 2016, a student of a prominent school in Sector 53 was molested by a male staff of the school. Earlier in April, a four-year-old girl from another school was molested by a temporary employee, while she was returning home.
Police officers said most of the problems are caused because drivers are not verified, and hence, their antecedents are not checked.
On Wednesday, a class 7 student succumbed to injuries after his van met with an accident on the outskirts of Gurgaon on Saturday. Trilok Chand, the regional transport officer, said they have not received any complaint in this regard and if the matter is brought to them, it will be investigated and appropriate action taken.