Investigators probing the fatal Kallar Kahar bus crash have called for the cancellation of Millat Grammar School’s registration with the education department as well as the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Faisalabad.
A member of the inquiry committee told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity, that the report recommends that a criminal case be filed against the school administration for negligence.
However, the move could endanger the future of 1,235 students who study at the school.
According to a report presented on Wednesday by a three-member inquiry committee constituted by the Faisalabad DCO, the bus that crashed on the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway on Monday, killing 37 people, including 33 children, had completed its fitness and technical life ten years ago. However, the Road Transport Authority (RTA) had declared the bus unfit for use on a long route.
The report says that according to Faisalabad district’s excise and taxation department, the bus was originally purchased by a federal government department in 1981. “Its fitness certificate expired in 2001 and one year later, the department auctioned it off as scrap to a contractor who reshaped it and rebuilt it privately,” the inquiry report reads. “The Faisalabad excise office registered the bus again on January 3, 2003, and the RTA gave a fitness certificate on May 19, 2003.”
Currently, the bus is owned by a transporter Samiullah from Rahim Yar Khan and was only allowed to be used for inter-city travel.
The inquiry report also found that, contrary to previous claims, the bus could only accommodate 57 passengers, not 72. The school administration had collected Rs700 from each student, totalling Rs70,000, and paid only Rs12,000 to the transport company. The rest was shown as profit earned by the school administration. The school, the inquiry report concluded, had fleeced its students.
The committee has also recommended that a case be registered against the transport company for allowing its vehicle to move without a permit.
Meanwhile, of the 34 injured children, 19 have been discharged and 14 are still under treatment in Allied Hospital, Faisalabad. The hospital’s superintendent, Rana Bashir, said that the condition of the injured children is improving.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2011.