Patna, Sept. 14: A school bus ran over a 60-year-old woman this morning below the Gai Ghat Bridge under Alamganj police station, exposing the institutions’ lack of interest in following the norms laid down for vehicles transporting students and the slackness of police in implementing them.
The victim, Sharda Devi, was out on morning walk when she was knocked down by the speeding school bus hired by St Joseph School. Sharda died on the spot.
The driver of the bus tried to flee. But angry residents chased the vehicle. Malsalami police station personnel intercepted the bus after getting information about the incident.
The school authorities chose to shrug off all responsibilities, claiming that they had hired the bus for just two days.
Sister Josephine, the school principal, said: “We have outsourced the school bus service. The bus that met with an accident was hired for two days — Monday and Tuesday — as a replacement for one undergoing repair. Today, that bus was not required. It did not start from our school. The bus that went for maintenance picked up the students. It reached the school premises on time. We are not at all responsible for the unfortunate incident.”
The cops parried queries on if they were penalising the schools not following the norms laid down for buses carrying students. An officer said: “The police stations have been asked to find out whether the schools are following the directives or not. The report regarding the same is yet to arrive.”
Sexagenarian Sharda was a victim of laggard approach of the police as well as the schools. Else, the resident of Dauga Imli area of Patna City would have finished her morning walk and returned home hale and hearty. Her son, Rajesh Mishra, is an advocate of the Gai Ghat Civil Court.
Arvind Kumar, a resident of the Gai Ghat area, told The Telegraph: “The bus was going towards the civil court from Gai Ghat to pick up students. Since the roads are empty in the morning hours, the vehicle was speeding. It hit the woman on full speed. When the eyewitnesses raised an alarm, the bus driver panicked and sped off. People followed the bus in their vehicles.”
Getting information about the incident, Alamganj police station acted swiftly and apprised the officers of Malsalami police station of the errant bus driver entering into their jurisdiction with the vehicle. A patrol team intercepted the vehicle.
The people following the bus smashed its windscreens and windows. They also tried to set the vehicle on fire, sources said.
The police pacified the crowd and took the driver into custody. An officer of Malsalami police station said: “The bus belongs to the St Joseph School. Fortunately, it was empty at the time of the accident. Its driver has been arrested and sent for a medical test. The vehicle was speeding. The driver lost control over it and ran over the woman.”
The state capital has been witness to a few accidents involving school buses. Sixteen-year-old Shweta Suman, a Class XI student of DAV School in BSEB Colony was crushed to death on February 17 by the bus of her own school. On August 30, an overloaded school bus of Gyan Niketan School hit many vehicles before being intercepted by the cops.