Eleven children -- all below the age of seven -- were injured after their school mini-bus rammed a road divider on the Malout-Bathinda road early morning today.
The incident occurred seven km from Bathinda when the bus driver, reportedly driving at high speed, tried to overtake a truck and a tractor while ferrying children to Sanawar School on the Bathinda-Malout road.
The injured students were rushed to civil hospital in Bathinda even as the driver fled the spot.
The mini-bus belonging to Sanawar School hit three electricity poles on the divider before coming to a halt. Doctors at the civil hospital said the children had suffered minor injuries, out of which three children got stitches on their foreheads. Their condition was stated to be stable.
Speaking to HT, Senior Medical Officer Dr Satish Kumar said, "Three children got stitches on their foreheads while others suffered minor injuries. The children are out of danger and we have discharged them."
More than 35 students and a teacher were on board the vehicle when the incident took place. School authorities claimed that they recruited only professional drivers on the recommendations of transport union in their school.
District police have registered an FIR against driver Jagdeep Singh of Bathinda, said ASI Roop Singh. "The bus has been seized though the driver escaped. We have booked him under Sections 279 and 337 of IPC and are looking for him. The driver was reportedly driving fast and in an attempt to overtake the truck he rammed the road divider, resulting minor injuries to the children," he said.
When contacted, school principal Ravinder Kaur said, "The bus belongs to our school and is one of our 28 buses. We hold regular meetings regarding transport facility offered to staff and students. The driver was reportedly driving fast and lost control while overtaking some vehicle. We have registered a complaint against him. All our buses are running as per the norms and we recruit only experienced drivers."