Navi Mumbai In the second week of December, a luxury bus carrying Chembur coach students overturned near Khopoli on the Old Mumbai-Pune Expressway in Raigad district, killing two students and injuring 48 others. This is the second accident that has occurred.
Near Lonavala, four teachers were injured after their bus veered off the road and slid 200 feet down a canyon in the first week of December. Miraculously, the 27 students on board escaped unharmed. Picnics are arranged by private coaching classes located in Raigad Pen.
The two incidents forced Raigad police to educate school bus drivers about safety regulations. Raigad Police Superintendent Somnath Gharge has asked officers to speak to drivers on highways and in parking spaces and tell them about past incidents.
“Raigad is the favorite picnic spot for most of the schools in Mumbai and the suburbs. Imagica Adventure Park, Matheran, Raigad Fort top the list. Even if you have to go to other places in Lonavala, Pune or even Goa, you have to go through Raigad, so All the picnic buses pass through our area. We have taken some initiatives at our level to avoid accidents,” Gharge said.
Gharge has asked every police station in Raigad district to visit the car parks of picnic spots and meet drivers. Officials have been told to distribute pamphlets specially designed for the initiative, which discuss dos and don’ts.
“Officers reminded drivers by explaining the accidents reported in the past two years and the reasons behind them. Officers also checked the driver’s license and the health of the bus,” Gharge added.
Gharge has also written to the Department of Education, asking them to inform all schools to be extra careful when choosing tours and picnic trips, and to make drivers aware of traffic rules and safety.
“It was difficult for us to get in touch with every school in and around Raigad, so we wrote directly to the education department who will inform all schools in the state. It is the responsibility of the schools to choose the right bus and driver,” Gharge said.
According to Gharge, at least four to five school buses passed by Raigad for a picnic. Police will also pull over picnic buses for 10 minutes, communicate safety with drivers and check their health and other documents.
Pali, Alibag, Kashid, Murud, Diveagar in Shrivardhan are some other popular picnic spots where buses carrying students going to schools or cram schools can be found.
“On the expressway, about 36 kilometers of the road belongs to the Raigad district, and the highest number of accidents in this section is the Pune-Mumbai route,” Gharge added.
“From the day after the accident, the Raigad police advised the bus drivers. The police officers stopped the school bus, wished the children a safe journey and told the drivers that the lives of these students were in their own hands. The drivers realized that they Seriousness of responsibility. This is a good initiative. Even we have issued a circular and sent it to all travel agencies regarding safety. Schools are more vigilant these days and check buses and busses thoroughly before hiring driver’s documents,” said Anil Garg, chairman of Educational Tours Operator India.