Thirty students of Suncity World School had a narrow escape on Monday morning when the school bus rammed four parked cars and the boundary wall of a house, before hitting an electricity pole in Sector 27. No injuries have been reported.
Eyewitnesses alleged the driver lost control as he was negotiating a turn at high speed, a claim dismissed by the school authorities.
Fortunately, the power cables that fell on the bus were not live wires or the accident could have been fatal for the children aged between aged 6 and 8 years.
While the driver is absconding, a case has been registered against him for rash and negligent driving.
The bus has been seized by the police. Around 7.30am, Manish Khanna was having tea in his house when he heard a blast.
He rushed out and saw all four cars (SX4, Getz, Scorpio and WagonR) parked outside his house had been hit by the bus and a portion of the house boundary wall was also damaged. According to eyewitnesses, the bus driver took a short-cut from the colony to avoid a long detour and lost control as he taking a blind left turn.
The impact of the accident was so fierce that the Scorpio SUV dragged the WagonR up to a distance of 50 feet.
“The bus was coming at a high speed. The raging vehicle could halt only after hitting into an electricity pole,” said a parent who did not want to be named.
Residents of the locality rushed to the rescue of the children. “We took out all the children as they were crying. We called each one of their parents as no one replied on the school number written on the bus,” said Yogender Singh Bhatti, president of the Sector 27 RWA.
Hindustan Times took a technician to the site to inspect the bus and found that the speed limiting device fitted in the bus was not functioning.
The speed governor was of Pricol company, which no longer supplies the equipment, and above all, the device was not even connected.
The school’s annual maintenance contract (AMC) documents show that required permissions for operating a heavy vehicle have been taken but the motor vehicle inspector (MVI) gave an approval without checking the speed governor as it was clearly not working in this case.
“Our children are no longer safe in school buses. The school is not even bothered to install a certified speed governor. When I asked the driver to show his licence and documents of the bus, he refused,” Khanna said.
Bharti Arora, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) said, “We will take strict action against the school and the MVI if the speed governor was installed from a local agency or not approved. Despite writing to schools time and again, precautions are not taken and such accidents are taking place”.
SHO Inspector Jagdish Prasad added, “We are conducting raids to arrest the driver and the school bus is in our custody.”
School principal Rupa Chakravarty, however, backed the absconding driver.
“Our staff reached the site without delay and examined reasons for the accident. It was found that the mishap occurred due to an unexpected technical snag. The school appreciates the commendable job done by the driver. Thanks to his presence of mind, not a single injury was reported. The driver is an ex-serviceman with an experience of 25 years in driving heavy vehicles,” she said.