Every time a school bus accident happens anywhere in the country, the government machineries get together to brain storm on safety measures that should be ensured to avoid recurrence of such accidents. The measures suggested and the reports prepared simply meet their quiet burial over a period of time.
Umpteen times strict instructions are issued to the school authorities as well as the bus operators but most post-accident findings reveal that either the bus driver had been hired without verifying the credentials or on the opportune time it was being driven by the conductor in the absence of actual driver being sick or on leave.
Though what happened at Nurpur this time when 27 blooming lives were lost in a school bus accident early this week was bad fate, yet unless enforcement is not planned seriously, incidences are bound to happen again. Virtually what we come across is not the absence of laws and traffic rules but there enforcement.
To exemplify we often come across hundreds of people heading for the holy shrines of Baba Balaknath, or Brijeshwari Devi or Jawala Devi in Himachal Pradesh travelling in tractor trollies and trucks. These vehicles pass through a number of toll barriers and check posts before reaching the destination. Are the authorities not aware that the agricultural vehicles and trucks are meant for only transportation of material and not passengers? Not surprising that a similar truck carrying 50 odd people had met with an accident on the national highway a few days ago resulting in a number of casualties.
But such vehicles are seldom stopped at any check post or by the traffic personnel to be fined. Shouldn’t the authorities responsible for implementing such rules and regulations be penalized for such practices? Or should not they also be made accountable for such accidents?
In the meeting chaired by the chief minister today at Shimla suggestions came forward that the vehicle being used to carry school children must have a driver with a minimum experience of five years in such categories of vehicles and must not have any record of traffic offences. And that all the safety related provisions for the safe plying of students to school and back home must be efficiently implemented.
The Chief Minister even 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. And a high level committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to regulate traffic safety issues pertaining to private schools in the state that is supposed to submit its report within four days so that the recommendations could be finalized and effectively enforced for safety.
But is it enough? Or are we just doing our bit in words to only wait for the next such unwanted accidents before enforcing regulations strictly?
Such accidents not only jeopardize precious lives of kids who may be unfortunate to pass into a deep slumber which never breaks. It even leaves behind veiling parents to curse the system and their own fate on losing their child who may at times be the only one in the present society.