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DPS Accident: Stung by Outrage, MP CM Chouhan Orders Judicial Probe, Shunts 'Insensitive' RTO

Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a number of stringent measures to regulate the functioning of school buses.

Vivek Trivedi | CNN-News18

Updated:January 7, 2018, 4:50 PM IST
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DPS Accident: Stung by Outrage, MP CM Chouhan Orders Judicial Probe, Shunts 'Insensitive' RTO
File photo of Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
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Bhopal: Rattled by the widespread outrage over the accident involving a bus of Delhi Public School that led to the death of four students, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday ordered a judicial probe into the mishap and announced a number of stringent measures to regulate the functioning of school buses.

Chouhan, who visited Indore on Sunday to meet the aggrieved families and the kids undergoing treatment at Bombay Hospital, faced the ire of parents, who alleged there was absolute lawlessness in the functioning of school buses and other vehicles engaged in ferrying kids.

In a step to assuage the parents, he removed the Indore regional transport officer, MP Singh for insensitive behavior after reports that he was smiling while addressing media persons on the accident.

“Taking cognizance of media reports which depicted the RTO not exhibiting required sensitivity on the serious matter, I am removing him with immediate effect,” said Chouhan.

“A judicial probe has been ordered and I have sought the report within the next 15 days,” the CM said, adding that those found responsible won’t be spared. Initial action has been taken against negligent officers, he said.

The police have arrested three people, including Chetan Kumawat, the transport officer of DPS and Jalaj Meshram from the company that fitted the speed governor in the bus after the police probe found that the speed governor was not working properly. The bus was reportedly going at close to 80km per hour when the accident occurred.

The steering wheel of the bus had jammed, causing it to swerve uncontrollably and ram into a truck coming from the opposite side. In a bizarre step, the police also booked the bus driver, who also died in the accident. A student who used to take the same bus told News18 that the driver had complained of snags in the bus earlier, but the school authorities did not pay heed.

Announcing a battery of regulations, Chouhan said that strict conditions will be introduced to ensure that buses ferrying school kids are in the right condition.

To start off, buses older than 15 years would not be allowed to operate and older buses would be phased out within three months so that there is no sudden shortage of transportation for school kids. “Out of 17400 buses engaged in ferrying kids to schools, as many as 2514 are older than 15 years,” he said.

The CM also said that the process of granting fitness certificates to buses would be automated to do away with the possibility of human error. In another key policy decision, the state government has decided to establish centralised data centres to monitor real-time efficiency of speed governors and GPS fitted in buses.

“While calculating the time and distance travelled in any particular time period, speed of the buses would be cross checked,” he said, adding anyone breaching speed limit would be punished.

He also announced that the speed limit for school buses has been lowered from 60 kmph to 40 kmph in order to avoid untoward incidents. Joint committees comprising parents and members of school administration would be formed to look into complaints regarding school buses and fee overcharge as well.

If schools won’t listen to the complaints of the parents, the state government would take action based on parents’ feedbacks, Chouhan warned schools.

He informed that six school kids involved in the bus mishap were still admitted to Bombay Hospital and out of these, two have undergone surgeries. He promised all possible help to the injured students.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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