School boy death fails to move transport dept

  • Jatinder Mahal, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Aug 07, 2014 00:45 IST

In what could be called as apathy of the district transport department, it has failed to check rampant violations and negligent attitude of school bus staff, even as it claimed the life of four-year-old Arush Arora, who fell off the bus he was travelling in and died on the spot on August 1.

The department’s carelessness is glaring and can be determine from its negligent attitude towards scrutinising the school buses in the city.

Despite their tall claims of starting a drive jointly with the traffic police to check violations by school buses in the city, the transport department failed to impound buses and vans plying in violation of the rules.

In March 2013, 13 children of 4-10 years of age group were killed when the private van they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck on Jalandhar-Nakodar road. Following the incident, the administration and the city police had issued directions to the school management, asking them to follow the norms and guidelines.

Even as city schools are not following the department’s guideline, it seems helpless in taking action against the violators.

As per a Supreme Court guideline, the district transport department needs to check all necessary and mandatory items in school buses physically and in case of violation buses should be impounded. However, auto-rickshaws and school vans are still plying in violation of the Motor Vehicle Act and the SC directions.
An auto-rickshaw with seven seats ferrying 15 students with no proper space for the driver to sit is a common sight in the city. Several minibuses are also ferrying more students than permitted.

According to the apex court guidelines, speed governor should be fitted in all school buses to check the speed to 40kmph limit, doors of buses should be fitted with reliable locks and a driver having challaned more than twice in a year for offences like red light jumping, violation of lane discipline or allowing unauthorised person to driver, cannot be employed as school bus driver.

While admitting that several school buses/vans are violating the SC guidelines, district transport officer (DTO) RP Singh said they were planning to launch a drive to check the violations. “Still, we don’t have time due to immense workload,” he said.

Singh said while rules regarding safety measures had always been in place, the schools’ management had not been taking it seriously.

Sources, however, said under the pressure of various school managements, the department failed to check violations and act stringently.

Meanwhile, district administrative officials said safety of the children was their prime concern and considering its importance, deputy commissioner along with police commissioner, DTO and other officials would hold an awareness seminar at MGN Public School on Thursday.

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