The Dayawati Modi Public School bus, from which a Class 4 student peered out the window and died after hitting his head on a pole, was operating without proof of fitness and continued despite being blacklisted, officials with the regional transportation department said .
The vehicle in question is among 756 available buses with 166 schools blacklisted for not renewing their certificate of suitability.
A certificate of suitability is issued to indicate that a vehicle meets various standards and procedures and is fit for road use. It is renewed by the transport department after proper physical and technical inspection of the vehicle. It certifies that the transport vehicle complies with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. It also certifies that the vehicle meets the safety aspects
In accordance with the Child Safety and School Bus Suitability Guidelines, each school vehicle should be labeled with the words “school bus” and “on school duty” on the front and rear of the vehicle; no school bus shall carry passengers on roads, every school bus should have children’s name, address, class and blood type and route map, every bus should have male or female personnel for children’s safety; The maximum speed of the school bus should not exceed 40 km/h and the installation of a speed limiter is mandatory.
Police impounded the Dayawati Modi Public School bus after 10-year-old Anurag Bhardwaj stuck his head out the window of the moving school bus and succumbed to injuries sustained after his head hit the bar of a portal gate nearby the school was bounced school on Wednesday morning.
“We have blacklisted the registration of vehicles whose suitability has expired. The fitness bus involved in the death of the fourth grader expired on March 7 last year. The vehicle was blacklisted on October 8, 2021, following which communications were sent to the vehicle owner to renew the certificate of suitability. A report on this has also been sent to the district authorities,” said Viswjeet Pratap Singh, additional regional transport officer.
According to Transport Department records, some of the prominent schools whose buses were blacklisted are those in Ahimsa Khand, Indirapuram, Meerut Road Industrial Area, Shakti Khand in Indirapuram, Sanjay Nagar, Dasna, Mohan Nagar, Vasundhara, Loni and Modi Nagar.
On Wednesday, police said the bus belonged to the Dayawati Modi Public School and was not a rented one. HT tried several times to reach the school on the landline, but there was no answer. Principal NP Singh also did not take calls.
According to official records, the district has a total of 1,899 school vehicles, of which 756 have already been blacklisted as their eligibility expired, officials said.
“We have formed several teams in different zones and a special campaign has been launched until April 26th to find school buses that are in operation without renewing their certificate of suitability. All 756 buses have been blacklisted on the portal and notices have already been sent to all 166 institutions,” he added.
The death of the boy on the moving school bus has put school transport in the spotlight and raised concerns among parents who use this mode of transport to send their wards to schools.
“Schools charge parents a hefty transportation fee, and they are entrusted with the safety of our children. It is a complete negligence on the part of the school and also the transport department that a bus was still in service despite being blacklisted. This further suggests that other blacklisted vehicles may be on the road and endangering the lives of children,” said Vivek Tyagi, spokesman for Ghaziabad Parents’ Association.
Police said they are awaiting official notification from the transportation department and that the issuance of the certificate of eligibility and the backlisting of the bus will be taken as evidence of the Class 4 boy’s death.
Members of the Association of Schools’ Federation said the boy’s death was regrettable and that schools should live by the norms.
“The transport department must have a list of any buses or vehicles that are blacklisted and ensure the vehicles are not in service. Accountability of the school authorities is not feasible in every case. Many of these buses, which carry school children, are rented. We appeal to schools to get vehicles and other work ready on time and to obey laws,” said Subhash Jain, President of the Independent Schools’ Federation of India, which has about 100 schools as members.