The school bus accident of Bishnah in which one minor girl student Khushboo Devi had died while 13 others had sustained serious injuries was a result of administration’s blind eye towards the flouting of ‘school buses/cabs’ norms by the private schools in winter capital laid by the Supreme Court of India.
In Jammu, the private schools cum educational institutions have mushroomed in the past one decade owning to the deplorable infrastructure and low quality education in government sector schools but many of the newly emerged schools are not concerned about the safety of the students and are busy in minting money.
In the recent past it has been seen that these private schools are violating the court orders with impunity and one among them is ‘norms regarding buses and cabs to be used for ferrying students’.
According to the Supreme Court norms the body of school bus/cab shall be of highway yellow color with a horizontal strip in green color of 150mm width in the middle all around the vehicle and the words ‘School Bus/Cab’ must be prominently displayed on all four sides of the vehicle and if it is a hired bus, “On School Duty” should be clearly indicated.
Contrary to this the school bus of R K S Girls School Bishnah which turned turtle was an old bus painted white in color and the words School Bus was not displayed on any of its side. Reports said that the text ‘On School Duty’ was not indicated on the bus, which was hired by the school.
The another norm of SC says that the bus must have a First-Aid-Box, drinking water and fire extinguisher with School Name and Telephone number written on the Bus along with seat belts and appropriate space under the seats for keeping bags unfortunately there was no first aid box and drinking water in the ill-fated bus owning to which first aid could not be provided to any of the injured students right after the accident.
Besides this the most vital norm emphasis on the speed limit says that school cabs should be fit with speed governors with maximum speed limit of 40 kilometer per hour and there must be an attendant from the school in the Bus. Also the driver of the school cab must have valid license to drive that category of Vehicles for a period of at least 5 years with no previous record of traffic offenses.
The Bishnah school bus accident took place as the driver allegedly rashly drove the bus after having heated argument with a teacher who was also traveling in the bus. This also shows that the driver was inexperienced and drove the vehicle recklessly over a verbal duel.
Norms also say that the driver must wear a light blue shirt, light blue trousers and black shoes. His name ID be displayed on the shirt and his interaction with the students must remain limited though he must have a list of students being ferried in the school bus/cab and the vehicle shall not carry children in excess of its permitted seating capacity.
But in Jammu numerous schools are defying the SC rules and have hired cabs especially ‘Maruti Omini’ and over aged buses which are being driven by the inexperienced or untrained drivers thus are endangering the lives of students for the sake of saving money.
Supreme Court in one the norm has said that in case of kindergarten, if an authorized person recognized mutually by the school and parents, does not come to pick the child from the halting points and such, the child shall be taken back to the school and their parents should be called. But here in winter capital where schools are ignoring the entire norms this norm has no significance for them.
The authorities at least should ensure the compliance of the Supreme Court guidelines for the road safety of the school going children’s as the matter is of great concern.
Moreover, in the recent past it has been also seen that many schools have hired private vans, which ferry the students like cattle, without bothering about the health of the students.
Talking to Newspoint, Deputy Commissioner Jammu-Simrandeep Singh said that the administration has ordered probe into the accident case and one the report is received, they will initiate action against all the schools, who are not following Supreme Court guidelines.