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Friday, August 21, 2009

Buses get 15 days to install 2 doors

Police Will Seek Prison Term For Driver, RTO Rules Were Flouted

Prafulla Marpakwar | TNN 

Mumbai: A day after 20 students of CKT School, New Panvel, were injured when a minibus caught fire on the Sion-Panvel Highway, the transport department on Friday directed bus operators to ensure that their vehicles have two doors. "We have asked them to provide two doors to school buses within 15 days. We are issuing revised guidelines, and our officers will ensure that the orders are implemented,'' said C S Sangitrao, transport secretary. 
    As the bus had only one door, students sitting behind could not escape easily due to a stampede-like situation up front, said Sangitrao, adding that in many school buses, the emergency exit doors are either sealed or not functioning. 
    The accused driver and bus contractor, V M Phadtare (24) and the cleaner Anil Yadav (20) have been remanded to police custody till August 24. The RTO in Navi Mumbai has registered a case against both men under Section 192(a) of the Motor Vehicles Act. According to Sangitrao, the RTO has filed a case directly before the first class judicial magistrate. Under the Act, whoever drives a motor vehicle without a permit 'shall be punishable with a fine and for subsequent offence, with imprisonment of one year or with fine'. The accused have also been booked under Sections 287 (neglect with respect to machinery endangering life), 337 and 338 (causing hurt and grievous hurt, thereby endangering lives) and 114 (abetment) of the Indian Penal Code. "We will press for imprisonment of the owner,'' Sangitrao added. 
    The operator had a permit to ferry college students, which he had surrendered on August 13, and applied for a fresh permit for plying school children. The application had been re
jected. What residents are now asking is how the bus was allowed to operate without a valid permit. "It's a case of connivance between the Pen transport officials and bus operators,'' a school teacher said. 
    A transport department official said that its Pen office is in a mess, as most of the officers posted there are loitering in Mantralaya. "Rarely will you find our officials in the Pen office. There is not even a routine check of transport vehicles,'' he said. 
    Meanwhile, the transport secretary said his department has asked the forensic science laboratory to submit its report within 48 hours; the Panvel police has been urged to give a preliminary report in 24 hours. 
    With inputs from 
    Vijay Singh 

Road to recovery 
Eighteen children who suffered severe burns are still undergoing treatment. Two students at Masina Hospital, Byculla, are in the ICU under observation. Rhea Gupte (11) who is being treated for 60% burns is she is still in a lot of pain "The doctors are keeping her under strict observation,'' said her brother Ameya. Kaustubh Puranik (10) who suffered 40% burns is stable, but he is still under observation. In Airoli, one of the six children at the National Burns Centre is critical with 70% burns. 
Heroes felicitated 
For their heroic rescue effort, three cops and a civilian were felicitated by the Navi Mumbai commissioner of police, Gulabrao Pol. Police subinspector (traffic) S M Kharbas, traffic constable G Dhole, constable M M Choudhary and Pravin Angre were awarded certificates. They rescued 38 kids who were trapped in the bus

(Above) Often, already overloaded autos are fitted with planks to ferry more children (Left) In the wake of the accident, RTO officials in Navi Mumbai launched a drive to check the fitness of school buses


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