School authority hired blacklisted bus, not informed MVD about trip, confirm officials

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Palakkad: The probe into the Vadakkencherry bus accident has revealed serious lapses from the part of the school authority in informing the Motor Vehicle Department about the trip. Transport minister Antony Raju said that the school had to mandatorily inform the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) about the trip before proceeding with it and this had already been conveyed in writing to all schools in the state. However, preliminary reports indicate that the MVD was not informed by the school.

MVD officials also turned up at the school to inquire whether they had informed the department of the trip and if yes, which of its offices. The MVD inquiry assumes significance as the private bus was blacklisted by Kottayam RTO, where it was registered, for violating various motor vehicle rules.

Nine people, including five students, were killed after a private tourist bus hit a state-run KSRTC bus from behind at Vadakkenchery in Palakkad district.

The accident occurred around 11.30 PM on Wednesday when the private bus, which was travelling at a high speed, while attempting to overtake a car, hit the rear end of a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus.

"Both the buses went off the road as a result. Nine people, including five students and a teacher, were killed in the accident," Minister told the media.

The driver of the KSRTC bus told reporters that he was driving at a speed of around 40 km per hour when the private bus suddenly hit them from behind and he barely managed to control the vehicle and prevent it from falling into a ditch.

"The private bus hit us from behind, ripped off a piece of our bus from one side and then went past us at high speed and toppled over," the KSRTC bus driver said. Visuals of the private bus showed a large piece of the state-transport vehicle inside the tourist bus.

The tourist bus had started from the Baselios Vidyanikethan Senior Secondary School in Ernakulam at around 7 PM on Wednesday with 42 students and five teachers for a pleasure trip to Ooty in Tamil Nadu.

Some relatives and parents of the students who went on the trip told media that the bus had arrived two hours late as the driver got delayed while returning from a trip to Velankanni in Tamil Nadu.
The same was also confirmed by Raju when he spoke to scribes in Thiruvananthapuram.

The minister also said that the preliminary view was that the accident occurred due to the high speed of the private bus and the negligence of its driver.He said that according to information received by him, the bus was travelling at a speed of over 97 km per hour.

The Kerala High Court also intervened in the matter seeking a report from the police and the MVD regarding the accident and how such a bus, having flashing or laser lights and pressure horns, was issued a fitness certificate.

The division bench also ordered that flashing or laser lights and banned horns should not be used in vehicles and those having the same should be impounded.

A single judge bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran also called for a report regarding the accident, advocate Deepu Thankan, who appears for KSRTC, said.


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