Gurgaon school bus fire: Transport authority vows action against school
Thirty five students and four staff Amity International School, Sector 43, had a narrow escape after the school bus caught fire. Prompt action by the driver and staff saved lives
The Regional Transport Authority will initiate action against the authorities of Amity International School, Sector 43, for not following requisite safety measures while chartering a white coloured bus to take the students to school on Monday. The bus caught fire near HUDA metro station. Thirty five students and four staff were on board the bus and had a miraculous escape.
The incident followed the deadly accident in UP’s Etah when a school bus collided head-on with a truck, leaving several children dead.
Timely action by the driver and staff saved the day for the children .
Trilok Chand, secretary, RTA said, “Using a private bus for ferrying children to school is a clear violation of Motor Vehicles Act and the Surakshit School Vahan policy and we will take action against the school authorities. We are investigating the incident and strict action will follow. We are also verifying whether any fire safety equipment was installed inside the vehicle or not.”
Chand said he rushed to the spot and inspected the bus on Monday morning. The RTA had on Monday called a meeting of private schools to discuss the Surakshit School Vahan Policy.
He said that the incident would be probed and shortcomings, if any, addressed.
The management of the school, however, blamed the RTA for issuing a fitness certificate to the bus despite knowing it didn’t belong to the school. The school also claimed that it had a legal contract with the local transporter and they do a regular check of buses and follow the necessary guidelines. The authorities said the lady attendant and a teacher were present inside the bus at the time of the incident.
Dr. Anshu Arora, the principal, said, “We follow all the norms of the Motor Vehicles Act and have not committed any violation. If the private bus wasn’t to be allowed to ferry the students home, why was it issued a fitness certificate? Why did the authorities not penalise the operator and impound the bus earlier?”
Around 8.05 am, the driver was ferrying the children to school when he smelt something and noticed smoke in the bonnet. Without losing a minute, he pulled over at the kerb and told all on board to get out of the vehicle immediately.
The driver Satyaveer Singh, 30, along with staffers and senior students, managed to evacuate all children within minutes. He immediately parked the vehicle on the roadside and alerted the teachers and students, who got down the bus quickly.Before any mishap could take place, the students from KG to class 12 were evacuated, the principal said.
“As soon as we got the information, we rushed to the spot and students were brought to school within minutes as they had exams. We also informed the parents that their wards were safe. The students were asked to go home and write the exam later. But they were calm and appeared for their exams. Later, we performed a hawan (ritual) and thanked the Almighty for keeping the students safe,” Arora said.
According to preliminary investigation,the fire broke out in the engine due to technical problems. The parents also demanded that the bus operators follow the norms laid down by the district administration.
“We have been talking to the school administration for having yellow coloured buses with proper safety equipment. We will take up the matter more strongly,” said a parent who asked not to be named.
A seven-year-old student of Ryan International School, Sector 31 died on May 9, 2016, three days after her school bus caught fire.
Five schoolchildren were injured and a truck driver was killed after a school bus going on the wrong side collided with it on IMT road near Bhangrola village on September 15, 2016. The bus driver managed to flee