Delhi's Dangerous School Vans: Children Forced to Sit on CNG Cylinders

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Delhi's Dangerous School Vans: Children Forced to Sit on CNG Cylinders

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As per rules, a maximum of 12 children are allowed in these 8-seater vans.

New Delhi:  Twenty-five children in an eight-seater van - that is how many children go to school in Delhi. They sit crammed, eight to a seat, another bunch is seen perched on CNG cylinder. In most cases, the vehicle has no transport department clearance and is therefore illegal.
 
As per rules, a maximum of 12 children are allowed in these eight-seater vans. According to government figures, a child died and over 70 were injured in school van accidents in the last three years.

Over two days, NDTV visited many schools to find the dangers our children face every day.

Outside one of south Delhi's private schools, the team spotted a school van. It had a private number and so was plying without a permit. Visibly scared of camera, the driver bolted.  

In another van, children were seen sitting on the top of the CNG cylinder - a highly dangerous situation.

"No, we don't make them sit on it," the driver insisted. "He is lying... We sit on it and often it even heats up," the children shouted back.

"Why have you stuffed so many children in a single van? It's an 8-seater van but you have 21 kids in it," we ask another cab driver. Caught off guard, he drives off, pushing away the mic.

Another private van was clearly very old - way beyond the permitted limit of 10 years for commercial vehicles.

We ask the children about the rides. "They stuff so many, it gets difficult to breathe in summers," said one. "Some months ago, a girl met with an accident," said another. "They often drive rashly as they have two rounds of children to pick up," piped up a third.

Finally after much coaxing, a driver spoke off the record. "I have been challaned twice, but we get away," he confided.

"We can go on impounding and challaning vehicles, but that doesn't solve the problem. The schools and parents need to come together for a holistic solution," said Mukhtesh Chandra, Special CP Traffic.

How to ensure that your child is safe?
  •  The cab should have a yellow stripe on its sides with the details of the driver at the rear end.
  •  The car number should start from 1K, which means the cab and the driver has the necessary permits, which are given only after background checks.
  •  There has to be a fire extinguisher and a first aid box inside.
  •  The driver should have details of the guardians for emergencies.

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