Three children, including a brother and a sister, were among four people killed when a school bus and a pick-up jeep collided near Singhpur village on the Dasuya-Hajipur road, 50 km from here, on Friday morning.
Ten students were injured when the potato-laden Mahindra pick-up jeep rammed into the bus of Cambridge International School, Dasuya, at 7.45am. The bus was taking the children from Talwara and nearby places to Dasuya.
Police said Surabhi Kumar, 7, her brother Anirudh, 4, and another student, Tanish Sharma, 12, besides bus driver Ranjit Singh died on the spot. They were all residents of Talwara, 25 km from Dasuya.
Eyewitnesses said the jeep was overtaking a motorcycle when the accident occurred. Its driver, Dharam Singh, and cleaner were injured.
All injured were rushed to the Civil Hospital at Dasuya from where six students were taken to a private hospital in Hoshiarpur. The jeep driver was referred to Government Medical College and Hospital in Amritsar.
Dasuya sub divisional magistrate Himanshu Aggarwal was at the spot to oversee relief and rescue.
Heartrending scenes were witnessed in the hospital as parents in panic looked for their children. “We had been asking the school authorities to replace this bus. Despite assurances, they didn’t do so,” said an inconsolable Rohit Kumar, who lost both his children in the mishap.
School owner Sanjiv Wassal, who accompanied the injured to the Hoshiarpur hospital, said the bus was four years old and had been cleared by the motor vehicle department recently. “The 42-seater bus was in good shape and was carrying 36 students at the time of the accident. The bus driver tried to avoid the jeep but it rammed into our vehicle,” he said.
Deputy superintendent of police Rajinder Sharma said a case was registered against the jeep driver under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code. The vehicle was impounded.
Union minister and local MP Vijay Sampla mourned the deaths and asked the deputy commissioner and senior superintendent of police to ensure all schools adhere to road safety norms. Local MLA Arun Dogra visited the injured in the hospital.
FATAL SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENTS
March 8: Prabhjot Singh, 5, was run over by his school bus outside SM International School on the Patiala-Rajpura road. Reason: Negligence as driver did not spot him while reversing the vehicle. Attendant and conductor were not paying attention.
February 24: Arshdeep Singh, 6, of Dashmesh School was run over by his school bus while he was getting down near his house at Bambiha Bhai village in Faridkot. Reason: Driver Harpreet Singh failed to notice him, crushing him under the rear wheel of the bus.
September 20, 2016: Seven schoolchildren killed and 20 injured after bus of DAV Public School, Neshta, near Amritsar falls into canal off a bridge that didn’t have railings. Reason: Speeding. Bus driver Charanjit Singh was speeding and driving rashly. He joined duty recently.
March 27, 2016: Gursimran Kaur, 5, of Guru Har Rai Public School, Mukandpur in SBS Nagar, was dragged to death by her school bus. Reason: Negligence. Her bag got stuck in the door while she was alighting. Unaware, the driver drove on for a few metres till alerted. No conductor in the bus. School principal arrested