While schoolchildren and staff commuting by school vans continue to be held to ransom in the absence of implementation of the safety norms prescribed by the Punjab and Haryana high court under the Go Safe School Vahan policy, a three-member team from Chandigarh came to their aid by conducting checks at various schools and urging the principals to install the requisite safety features at the earliest.
During the checking of school vans plying in Amritsar, the team found a majority of school vans lacking in the safety aspect. They said as per the instructions of the court, school buses older than 15 years or more shall not be allowed to ply on the city’s roads.
The team, which shall be conducting a similar exercise in Tarn Taran on Wednesday, conducted the checking at DAV International School, Ryan International School and Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, at the bypass, besides a host of other schools in Amritsar.
Holding a proforma of the safety norms prescribed by the Punjab and Haryana high court, the team checked to see if the school vans had all the prescribed safety features installed in them or not. Giving details, superintendent of police (SP) D Jatinder, of the traffic police, said the principals of the schools plying these vans have demanded 10-day time from the visiting team to install these safety features.
“In case of their failure to do so, the team shall submit its report to the Punjab and Haryana high court,” he said. Talking about the safety requirements for the school buses, Amrish Kumar Shukla, deputy DEO (Secondary), who was a part of the three-member team, said school buses older than 15 years shall not be allowed to ferry schoolchildren.
Listing out some of the safety features that needed to be installed in school vans, he said the norms called for installing two CCTV cameras, whereas the buses that they had checked either possessed one or none at all. “The norms call for installing speed governors, retracting steps to enable small children to board and get off the school bus easily. These were missing in a majority of the buses that we checked,” he said.
Sukhjit Singh Virk, traffic inspector, Mohali, said many school buses also lacked the school insignia and were asked to put up the same. “As per the norms, the racks for carrying school bags should be under the seats, but the vans here either had them overhead, which could hurt the students, or had none at all,” he said.
They added that school principals have been given 10-day time to make the mandatory amendments to the school buses in the interests of the safety of students.