Leader of opposition (LoP) in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta on Monday claimed that flouting of the Supreme Court guidelines by some school managements and parents was the root cause of accidents involving school transport. He also stated that the Delhi Government by being negligent towards the safety of school children, was not fulfilling with its obligatory duties.

“Since the fatal accident of a school bus which carrying more than 120 children fell in Yamuna river from Wazirabad Bridge in 1997, the Delhi government has not been serious about the safety of children. Such accidents are taking place as transport operators are blatantly violating guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in 1998 for ferrying of school children,” said Gupta.

He recalled that the bus which fell in Yamuna was carrying more than 120 children against its capacity of 50-70. As many as 28 children died in that accident and 70 were seriously injured. However, no lessons have been learnt from past accidents, Gupta observed.

“Even today school vehicles carry children more than double their capacity. In the accident involving a school van and milk tanker last week in Kanhaiya Nagar area, the van was carrying children more than double its capacity. One girl died and 17 children were injured in the collision because children were packed in the van like luggage,” the leader of opposition remarked.

He emphasised the basic reason for accidents involving school children was utter violation of Supreme Court guidelines for ferrying of school children.

The apex court had laid that school buses should have first aid box, water tank, fire extinguisher, doors with locks, parallel bars on windows, school bag grills under seats, school name and telephone number mentioned on the bus with “School Bus” written on both back and front.

The guidelines also stated that hired buses should have an attendant and prominently display an inscription that they were on school duty. Also, a driver was required to have minimum five years experience.

Furthermore, buses on school duty had to be equipped with a speed governor and supposed to carry not more than 20 students over certified capacity. “These guidelines are being violated openly but Delhi government is not sensitive to it,” Gupta alleged.

He noted, ” it is the obligation of the government, school managements and parents to strictly follow the Supreme Court guidelines to ensure the safety of the children.”

Gupta felt a separate cell should be created in the Education Department to control and regulate transport involving school children, as more than 20 lakh children travel daily in Delhi.