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School to sensitise parents

Loopholes put kids at risk

By Jhinuk Mazumdar in Calcutta

  • Published 13.11.19, 3:27 AM
  • Updated 13.11.19, 4:37 AM
The mangled bus after the accident on Monday
The mangled bus after the accident on Monday Bishwarup Dutta

The school whose students were injured in Monday’s accident has promised to sensitise guardians on the need to hire buses fit for the road.

The bus involved in the accident, hired by guardians, lacked a fitness certificate and the owner had not paid road tax, according to transport department officials.

“I would meet the parents before the winter break and tell them it is imperative to ensure the buses that they hire have all the papers in place,” said Sister Roshni Monteiro, principal of Holy Child Institute.

In a late order on Monday, the transport department asked motor vehicle inspectors to identify school buses that were plying without fitness certificates or other documents.

“Things could have been worse on Monday. I will request the guardians to check whether bus operators have fitness certificates,” said Monteiro, who had gone to visit the injured at hospital on Monday.

Sources in the traffic police said the guardians, in a bid to save money, often neglect the safety of children. Schools also need to conduct frequent checks, said a government official.

“Many schools that do not provide buses pass the buck to the guardians. But they should also be accountable for the safety of their pupils,” said a senior official of the transport department.

Monteiro said she would also meet the bus operators separately to ask them to start on time for the daily journeys.

Some of the injured students missed their computer practical exams on Monday. The school said those who failed to appear in the exam because of the accident would be allowed to write their papers at the end of the theory exams. The practical exams have already begun and theory papers will be held from November 18 till the end of the month.

Around 200 small and medium commercial vehicles are plying in the city without a fitness certificate, according to a conservative estimate. A chunk of them would be school buses but without a specific input, traffic cops seldom stop the vehicles during school hours. The Supreme Court had in the 1990s ordered that vehicles carrying schoolchildren must be painted in golden yellow and have the words “School Bus” written prominently on all sides.

Many buses that ferry students regularly flout the order, as did the bus ferrying the students to the Beadon Street school on Monday morning.

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