A speeding school van driver was arrested for being under the influence of alcohol after he nearly lost control of his vehicle filled with children early on Monday morning, proving once again how easily liquor is available in dry Bihar and how the state continues to suffer the ills of substance abuse despite mobilising the entire law-enforcing machinery to clamp prohibition with an iron fist.
The incident occurred at Income Tax roundabout at around 7am when the van carrying children studying in the primary section of St Karen’s School on Boring Road was speeding .
“Our patrolling team was at Income Tax roundabout when the school van was moving at high speed,” said Kotwali police station house officer (SHO) Rama Shankar Singh.
“When we tried to stop the van, the driver suddenly slammed the brakes. The children were lucky as the driver could somehow control the van.”
The SHO added: “The van driver was under the influence of liquor. He was arrested and later our police driver drove the van to school.”
The driver, Manish Kumar, has been driving the school van since 2004.
He was going to the school from the Kankarbagh area.
Manish told The Telegraph that on Sunday night he had consumed liquor at a friend’s birthday party in Kankarbagh.
The parents of the children in the van were informed about the incident by the school authorities.
However, the school refused to take any responsibility for the incident.
“We do not provide any transportation facilities to junior students studying at our school in the Boring Road area,” said Amarnath Mitra, who is part of the school administration. “Most the vans which drop and pick up the children to and from the school are private operators. During the time of admission of students too, we issue notice mentioning that the school does not provide transportation facilities.”
Parents were, naturally, not impressed with the school’s stand.
“The school administration cannot shirk its responsibility by saying that they do not provide transportation facilities,” said the parent of a Class II student of the school, speaking on condition of anonymity for obvious reasons.
“The school administration must keep a record of all school vans which pick up and drop school students. The school authorities should also have record of the drivers such as licence, police verification and condition of vehicles,” the parent added.
“The seven children in the van were lucky as no major incident occurred, but we are scared after the incident.”