The Punjab government has decided to regularise the service of Punjab Roadways driver Nanak Chand who had saved the lives of 76 passengers travelling on the bus on the day of the Dinanagar attack on July 27.
The government has also recommended his name for the National Bravery Award. This was announced in an official press release here on Saturday.
Chand was targeted by Pakistani terrorists in an early morning attack in Dinanagar. He showed tremendous presence of mind and remained calm as the terrorists fired at the moving bus. He drove away the bus to the civil hospital at Gurdaspur as two passengers had suffered bullet injuries.
Narrating the sequence of events, Chand said, "The bus was on its way from Janian, a village near the Punjab-Jammu and Kashmir border. We started early and were headed for Chandigarh. At about 5.30 am, we reached the Dinanagar bus stand and I stopped the vehicle briefly. Some passengers boarded the bus at the Dinanagar bus stand."
Chand said, "The bus left the Dinanagar bus stand and around 5.35 am reached near the police station. From a distance, I saw a white Maruti car and a masked person facing it. As the bus reached closer, he tried to stop it by waving his hand. Immediately, I realised something amiss. Conductor Birender Kumar also asked me not to stop the bus. As I tried to accelerate, the masked person fired a volley of bullets at the bus. I accelerated and covered the next 15 km to Gurdaspur in less than 15 minutes. As two passengers had suffered bullet injuries, I drove straight to the civil hospital at Gurdaspur where we admitted them to the Emergency."
Asked if he felt scared, he said, "All I knew was that I had to immediately drive away from the spot. Had I fumbled, the terrorists could have killed everyone on the bus."
Seven people -- four civilians and three policemen, including an SP rank officer -- were killed by the heavily-armed terrorists who stormed the police station.
Chand, who had been appointed a driver with Punjab Roadways on contractual basis in 2011, met chief minister Parkash Singh Badal last week with the request to regularise his job.
"I work on contractual basis and get around Rs 6,000 a month. I have to support a large family that includes wife, a daughter and two sons besides my mother," he said.