The accident has once again brought the school bus safety issue into the limelight, as the bus that belonged to Fr Agnel Multipurpose School in Vashi, has reportedly flouted safety norms prescribed by the state government.
The accident occurred around 6.45 am, when the bus driver Yadavrao Killi (38), misjudged the flow of traffic on the opposite side and took a U-turn near Nerul Flyover on the Sion-Panvel Highway. It was here that the bus collided head-on with a tempo that was on its way to Pune.
Killi was arrested by the Nerul police and was booked under Sections 279, 337, 427 of the IPC and 184 of Motor Vehicles Act. He was later produced in the Belapur First Class Court that granted him bail on personal bond of Rs 10,000.
"I was on my regular patrolling duty, when I saw the accident. When I reached the spot, I discovered that a child was thrown out of the bus as the emergency exit door had come off. We then admitted the injured kids to Dr D Y Patil Hospital, while the one who was seriously injured was taken to MGM Hospital in Vashi," said a traffic constable, Navi Mumbai Traffic Police.
The Navi Mumbai RTO, which inspected the school bus post-accident, discovered that safety guidelines laid down by the state for school buses have been flouted. Based on its investigation, the RTO has now decided to inspect every bus used by the school to ensure that all safety measures are in place.
Sandesh Chavan, assistant regional transport officer, said, "We inspected the school bus and discovered flaws: installation of just two metal bars on window instead of three, a single fire extinguisher among others. Also, we are doubtful about the rear exit door that gave away on impact, because it was a head-on collision. We are going to inspect all the buses in a day or two, followed by buses belonging to other schools in the next few days."
After the accident, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation's (NMMC) education officer wrote to the school administration, seeking stringent action against the principal for compromising on safety measures prescribed by the school's transport committee in December. Balasaheb Mane, education officer, NMMC, said, "The principal had promised to implement the prescribed safety norms in all their buses in a month's time. However, he has failed to do so. Hence we have sought strict action against the principal."
The other side
Rev Fr Russel D'Souza, the school's principal, said, "Police have arrested the driver and once they are through with their investigations, the actual reason that caused the accident will come to fore."
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