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School bus accident comes as wake up call for Himachal

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

The Nurpur tragedy killing 23 children and four others in a private school bus accident seems to have come as a wake-up call for the state government, as Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday gave directions for strict implementation of safety norms in school buses.

“Every vehicle being used to carry school children must be driven by a person having a minimum experience of five years in driving such categories of vehicles and must not have any record of traffic offences,” he said.

Presiding over the meeting of senior officers of the state government held here regarding transportation safety issues pertaining to private schools, the CM said the school bus accident in Nurpur was tragic and effective steps should be taken so that such types of incidents were not repeated in the
future.

Thakur said that the main focus should be on strengthening and regulation of existing laws and guidelines applicable for buses and taxis and other means of transport for transportation of students by the private schools.

“Any violation in driving must be dealt strictly. There must be appropriate permits for the vehicles to carry students and the concerned authorities must launch campaign to tackle violations of the safety measures.”

Thakur said that the high level committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to regulate traffic safety issues pertaining to private schools in the state must give its report within four days so that the recommendations could be finalised and effectively enforced for the safety of students.

He said that all the guidelines issued by the CBSE, Supreme Court and the National Disaster Management Authority would be effectively implemented.

He said that all the school buses should be first hand, in good condition and as per the specification laid down by the competent authorities. He said that an effective feedback mechanism must be evolved to check and improve implementation of existing laws.

All the buses owned by the private schools must be painted yellow and those owned by HRTC being used as school buses must have a boldly written ‘School bus’ on the front and rear of the buses.

The CM said that the strict action should be taken against the vehicle carrying excess of its permitted sitting capacity. The buses plying for students should have all the required equipments such as first aid box, fire extinguisher etc.

He said that the committee should also recommend steps to be taken by private schools to involve parents and local community for safe transportation of students.