The school van that took 40-odd students into a drain and killed seven of them was too old to even be on road.
A day after the accident at Muhawa village in this district, driver Satnam Singh remains on the run. Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harkamalpreet Singh says survivors claim in recorded statements that they told the driver to slow down. “But he didn’t listen. And then he abandoned the children after putting their lives in danger.”
Amritsar district transport officer (DTO) Lovejeet Kalsi said here on Wednesday that the van was more than 15 years old and illegal to operate under the Motor Vehicle Act. “Its registration expired in December 2015,” she said. “It doesn’t fulfil even Punjab’s Safe School Vahan rules notified in November 2013 (on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana high court).”
The van’s driver and owner, besides the school management, are booked for negligence already. Kalsi said she had penalised the operators of 200 school buses and impounded 108 vans “but I can’t be everywhere”. Police now plan to impound old vans.
The DTO asked the school for the driver’s details and accused the parents of compromising their children’s safety for saving a few bucks on transport fee.