Authorities of St Josephs High School in New Panvel will terminate the services of a bus driver and cleaner following a close call on Tuesday when the bus stalled on railway tracks with 33 students on board.
Parents alleged on Wednesday that the students could have met with a fatal accident had it not been for the parents on board who used their presence of mind to stop an approaching train. They also alleged that the condition of buses used by the school is poor.
The incident occurred at the Khanda railway crossing in New Panvel around 1.35 pm. There were 33 pre-primary students and nine parents in the bus plying to the school in Sector 7 of New Panvel. The school bus got stuck on the tracks even as two trains sped towards it from both sides. While the students and parents were struggling to avert the mishap,the bus driver and cleaner fled from the spot. The trains stopped after some parents flashed a colourful umbrella in a bid to stop them.
Bus driver Bhiku Parte (65) has been booked under Section 336 (endangering lives of others) of the Indian Penal Code.
Parte told police that the bus got stuck on the tracks after it broke down at the railway crossing but parents alleged that he was in a hurry to get to the school in time and he entered the first railway crossing gate despite the warning siren. While the bus was already on the tracks,the second exit gate shut completely. By the time the bus driver could reverse the bus,the first gate was also shut. He left us and ran away. said Sampada Golatkar,parent of a senior KG student,who was on the bus.
Another parent Sarita Kadam said,Luckily several parents were accompanying the students since it was their first day at school. There was just one attendant in the bus who too ran away with the bus driver,leaving us at great risk.. Our kids would have met a sad fate if we had not accompanied them.
The parents on Wednesday met the school principal and complained about the sorry state of the school bus. The condition of the bus that was plying our kids on Tuesday was very bad. We complained to the school authorities but are very unsatisfied with the reply we got from them . We will not take this matter lightly, Kadam said.
School principal Saida Malim said,We have already reported the incident to the management,which will now decide whether they want to discontinue the service of the bus contractor. We have decided to terminate the services of the bus driver and cleaner/attendant.