Students who love to hang on to bus footboards, beware! If it is an incurable habit, you could be thrown out of your institution. A suggestion to this effect came from none other than the first bench of the Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam on Wednesday. They were passing further interim orders on a suo motu writ petition relating to the recent Kandanchavadi tragedy here that killed four students.
If any student is found travelling on the footboard, the matter could be reported to the parents as well as the head of the institution, the judges suggested. If the student repeats the practice for the second or third time, the school could dismiss him, after notice to the parent, the bench added.
On Monday last, four students travelling on the footboard of an MTC bus were crushed to death after they were sandwiched between the bus and a lorry. Taking suo motu cognisance of the incident, the high court had directed Advocate-General
A Navaneethakrishnan to seek instructions from the government regarding safety measures to prevent such tragedies.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, Karuna Sagar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), filed an affidavit on the safety measures that had been taken so far, including stringent action against footboard travellers. If it is noticed, the bus concerned is stopped, those hanging on to the footboard are asked to alight and arrangements made to accommodate them in other buses. Awareness programmes are also being conducted, he said.
Going forward, the department could put up display boards at all bus stands as also near colleges and schools, warning students and the public against footboard travel; distribute pamphlets for awareness; and put out adverts in the media on the subject, he said.
The bench said: “We lay more stress that it should be widely advertised in newspapers and television channels.” Also, parents should be informed about the stern action that could be taken if their wards travel on the footboard, the bench added. The court directed the ACP (Traffic) to forthwith implement the suggestions and posted the matter for further hearing on January 2 on which date the Transport Secretary and the ACP should submit a report regarding the development and progress on the implementation of the proposed measures.