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14-yr-old bus fire victim dies

india Updated: Aug 23, 2009 01:53 IST
Shashank Rao
Shashank Rao
Hindustan Times
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Ronit Gore, who suffered 70 per cent burns when a private bus ferrying schoolchildren caught fire on the Sion-Panvel Highway in Navi Mumbai on Thursday, died on Saturday.

The 14-year-old student of Changu Kana Thakur School in New Panvel was being treated at the National Burns Centre (NBC) in Airoli.

Two others, Ankita Kurgale and Neeraj Kurgale, continued to be in a critical, but stable, condition, said Dr Ganesh Pawar of the NBC.

On Saturday, State Transport Commissioner Deepak Kapoor asked Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) to intensify the crackdowns on private vehicles ferrying schoolchildren.

Flying squads of RTO officers will begin the five-day crackdown from Monday.

The Transport department also decided to ignore a plea by schools asking it not to check vehicles in the mornings, as it would delay students to school.

“Apart from buses, private vehicles like Tata Sumo, autorickshaws, mini buses and taxis too will be scrutinised if they are found to be carrying schoolchildren,” said Kapoor.

The report of the exercise — the number of vehicles caught, details of the vehicles, whether they were following the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court and the number of children being ferried — would be submitted to Kapoor.

Vehicles found flouting the guidelines would be impounded and asked to pay fines.

“We have already caught eight autorickshaws for ferrying schoolchildren without proper permission,” said Kapoor.

Till now, only eight vehicles across the state have registered for ferrying schoolchildren.

One of the main reasons behind the slackness of vehicle owners for not taking the required permissions was while some schools want to make school buses compulsory, others don’t.

(Inputs by G. Mohiuddin Jeddy)