The Himachal Pradesh government on Tuesday said it had decided to cancel the affiliation of a private school after eight people, including seven students, were killed when a bus belonging to it rolled down a gorge in Sirmaur district last month. The decision to cancel the affiliation of DAVN Public School, Dadahu was taken on the recommendation of a three-member inquiry commission, Transport Minister Govind Singh told the state assembly.
He was replying to a question raised by Congress MLA from Renuka Ji, Vinay Kumar, during the question hour on the second day of the Budget session. The decision would come into force from April 1, Singh said.
In its seven-page report, the inquiry committee said the vice president of Maina Gandel gram panchayat had informed the school principal that the bus was not in a good condition and had requested him to get it repaired. It said though the principal gave an assurance that the school would get a new bus within a few months, he did not buy one.
The committee held that there had been gross negligence on part of the school. Kumar, in whose constituency's Khadkoli area the accident had taken place, alleged that the regional transport officer had refused to pass the faulty vehicle for plying on road but it was cleared by the transport department's regional manager.
Senior Congress leader and former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh also questioned the approval for the bus. "If the technical authority rejected the passing of the school bus, how could the higher authority pass it? Did the higher authority check the bus itself or did it approve the passing sitting in the office?" he asked.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur assured the House that the government would also probe the "negligence" on part of the transport department officials in passing the bus. "If any higher authority passed the faulty bus against the recommendation of the technical authority, strict action will be taken on the basis of the inquiry report," he said.
Participating in the discussion, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri claimed 1,250 persons had lost their lives in road accidents in the state last year. He asked the state government what steps were being taken to check the accidents.
Thakur asserted that his government is serious about tackling road accidents in the state and said several steps are being taken to minimise them. There are various reasons for accidents and they may take place under any dispensation, he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)