Parents of students of the English-medium Badlapur school, in whose bus a four-year-old was raped, are anxiously waiting for the bus facility to start again, with their children’s daily commute having gone for a toss. After a meeting, the school has decided to continue with the same bus contractor from October 1, with added security measures like lady bus attendants and CCTV cameras inside the buses.
Meanwhile, the bus cleaner accused of the crime has been sent to Kalyan jail.
After the September 6 incident, which came to light on September 14, the school remained closed as angry locals smashed the school buses the next day.
The institute reopened on September 19, but students were left stranded in the absence of buses.
CCTVs in buses
On September 21, most of the students’ parents came for a meeting called by the management. Many raised the question of the bus facility and safe transport, to which the administration promised that the bus contractor would appoint women attendants inside buses and also install CCTV cameras for surveillance.
The school has a contract with the local contractor for three buses. For now, the establishment has been provided police protection, with four policemen deployed inside the school including one lady constable.
The mother of a kindergarten student said, “The management has promised that the school bus would ply again from October 1, as the buses have been damaged and need repairs.”
Another parent said, “Most of the working parents have enlisted the service of private vans that can pick up and drop their children, till the bus facility starts again. The buses always had different bus cleaners and many of them looked like local, young goons.”
No of policemen deployed inside the school including one lady constable
No of years the current bus contractor has been operating at the school
Number of buses that the contractor runs for the school
Principal Sanjay Singh said, “In Saturday’s meeting, we asked the parents whether they wanted us to change the bus contractor but most said no. So we will continue with same contractor who has been providing the service for more than five years.” He added, “We have promised parents that we would provide lady attendants. It is not that the buses did not have them before. On the day of the incident, the lady bus attendant was absent.”
About the accused, the principal said, “We never received any such complaints against the bus cleaner. We don’t mind allowing parents to take turns travelling in the buses as volunteers, alongside the attendants. Until now, no parent has come forward for this.”
Dilip Patil, senior inspector of Badlapur police station, said of the young survivor of the crime, “She is stable and living at a relative’s place with her parents.”
He added, “As per the court order, the accused is in jail in Kalyan. We have already sent letters to all the schools in Badlapur area to follow the school bus policy laid down by the government. I will personally check the buses from now. All school buses have been asked to provide lady attendants.”