Barricades near St Xavier’s School do little to curb the speed demons. Picture by Vishvendu Jaipuriar
Sister Nivedita School
Location: Lake Road
No. of students: 500
St Xavier’s School
Location: Hazaribagh-Giridih Road (NH-100)
No. of students: 2,340
Mount Carmel School
Location: Forest Colony, along NH-33
No. of students: 2,000
DAV Public School
Location: Canary Road
No. of students: 5,700
Four of Hazaribagh’s best known schools just happen to be situated along roads where mishaps are commonplace, thanks to speeding heavy vehicles making a mockery of traffic rules.
A recent accident in which a 19-year-old college student was mowed down by a dumper near St Xavier’s School, only highlighted the peril children face while negotiating the traffic to and from school everyday.
Take the case of Sister Nivedita Montessori School. Lake Road is where the official residence of the deputy commissioner is. However, that does not stop heavy vehicles from hurtling down the stretch to go different parts of the town, putting the young students at risk.
Businessman Ravi Singh, whose son studies in Sister Nivedita, said the movement of heavy vehicles on the stretch strike fear in the hearts of parents. From trucks to tractors to dumpers, all use this stretch as a shortcut to get from NH-33 to Katkamsandi, Main Road, Mandai and even Chatra. According to Singh, the district administration should put up signboards setting speed limits for vehicles at the two ends of the stretch.
Principal Chanda Roy said once school gives over, she personally stands at the entrance to see that each and every student is either collected by their parents or board a school van. Present along with her is a guard and three other employees to keep an eye on the traffic and the children.
Traffic is heavier in front of St Xavier’s School, which stands on NH-100 that connects Hazaribagh with Giridih and is also used by vehicles to reach NH-33.
Parents have long sought traffic restrictions on the stretch in the mornings and afternoons, when students enter and exit the school. “This is one of the most busiest roads in town as it connects the district with Giridih and Bokaro. Vehicles going to Calcutta take this stretch to meet GT Road in Bagodar,” pointed out a worried guardian.
Probably the worst off in this regard is Mount Carmel, standing as it does in Forest Colony, with negotiating NH-33 the only way to reach the campus. “My daughters study in Mount Carmel, and I live in fear till they reach home every day,” said parent Bhuvaneshwar Patel.
His concern is not misplaced. A number of accidents have been reported on the stretch between St Columba’s College and Carmel Chowk in the last few years.
DAV Public School is on Canary Road, but students have to cross either NH-100 or NH-33 to reach the campus. Principal Ashok Kumar said the school was organising traffic awareness programmes after assembly on a regular basis to teach students how to cross the road. “We are taking all precautions to keep our students safe,” Kumar said.
With parents demanding security norms to put a check of speed demons, police officers are saying they will leave no stone unturned to ensure safety of children on roads.
CCL employee Julie Devi lamented that it took a teenager’s death for the authorities to talk of putting in place safety norms.
“In the last six months, three students have died in accidents in town,” she said, adding that officials should call school principals and discuss t how to keep children safe on roads.
Superintendent of police Manoj Kaushik promised to look into the matter immediately. He said he would seek speed-breakers immediately on the three stretches where the premier schools are situated.