Mahendragarh school bus mishap: Rules flouted, safety of schoolkids compromised : The Tribune India

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Mahendragarh school bus mishap: Rules flouted, safety of schoolkids compromised

Education, transport authorities in the dock

Mahendragarh school bus mishap: Rules flouted, safety of schoolkids compromised

People gather at the accident site in Mahendragarh



Tribune News Service

Ravinder Saini

Mahendragarh, April 11

The road mishap that claimed the lives of six schoolchildren near Unhani village here on Thursday morning has raised a question mark over the safety of children while travelling in school buses.

A passerby carries an injured schoolgirl.

It has also put the district education authorities in the dock as it could not ensure the closure of private schools in the district on a public holiday on Eid. Sources said many private schools were functional in the district today but no action was taken by the district authorities against them.

DESPITE HOLIDAY, Schools WERE OPEN

  • Education Minister Seema Trikha, while talking to the media after meeting the injured children in Rewari, admitted that the opening of schools on a gazetted holiday was a gross negligence
  • She said a show-cause notice had already been issued to the school in this respect
  • “No school should have been functional today. We will definitely take appropriate action in this regard,” she added

Bus didn’t comply with norms

  • Mohinder Singh, DSP, Kanina, said the bus did not have the fitness certificate and it was being run in violation of transport rules and against the guidelines of the Supreme Court regarding the safety of children.

n “As per norms, the availability of a male and a female staffer of the school concerned in the bus is mandatory but there was no staffer in the bus when the mishap took place. The bus was also challaned in 2023 for violating norms,” he added.

Even Education Minister Seema Trikha, while talking to the media after visiting the injured children in Rewari, admitted that the opening of schools on a gazetted holiday was a gross negligence and a show-cause notice had already been issued to the school in this regard. “No school should have been functional today. We will definitely take appropriate action in this regard,” she added.

Advocate Deepak, a social activist, said besides education, district transport authorities, too, could not run away from their responsibility of ensuring that every school bus adheres to the ‘Surakshit School Vahan Policy’ for the safety of the schoolgoing children.

“As per rules, a conductor should also be appointed for a bus to help the driver and to inform the school management if the driver is not driving the bus properly but many private schools do not have conductors. Besides mandatory conditions pertaining to the driving licence, experience and past conduct of a person are also checked thoroughly before appointing him as a driver as the children’s safety cannot be compromised by handing over a school bus to any irresponsible, untrained or negligent driver. But, many schools hire drivers without proper verification,” he alleged.

A police official told The Tribune that preliminary investigation had revealed that there was no conductor in the bus when the mishap took place.

Deputy Commissioner Monika Gupta said there was a standing instruction to all private schools that they would get character verification of driver done before appointing him, but in this case, negligence had been found on part of the school management so appropriate action would be taken against them.

Meanwhile, Anil Kaushik, President, Progressive Private Schools’ Association, Narnaul, said owners of all private schools in the district were shocked by the tragic incident.

“We have called an urgent meeting of office-bearers of our association this evening to discuss the issue of safety of children while travelling in school buses. The meeting may also take some vital decisions to strengthen the safety of schoolchildren by minimising the possibility of road mishaps,” he added.

Kaushik appealed to owners of all private schools across the state to remain careful while keeping drivers for their buses. “They must verify drivers’ past conduct from different sources and should ensure that they do not have the tendency to get drunk as the safety of children and other staff members travelling in the buses is our priority,” he added.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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