Picnic turned nightmare
Tragic road accident near Baba Reshi involving a school excursion bus created panic among parents of thousands of students studying in various schools across the Valley as the picnic season is at its peak. Three persons, including a student, dying in the accident and more than 50 being injured shocked everyone.
Soon after the word about the accident spread the instant reaction of the people was “Picnics should be banned. Such events put the lives of children in jeopardy.” But for children the school picnic means the biggest day of the year. This day turning into a nightmare for the students of Iqra Public School Khumriyal was very unfortunate.
One can imagine how excited these students would have been when they left their school early in the morning for their dream destination. They would have been clapping, singing and enjoying; hoping that they would reach Gulmarg and have fun. Alas! It did not happen. Destiny had something else in store for them. Tragedies often cause anguish and pain, but tragedies involving children are always heart rendering.
The reaction of the Directorate of the School Education (DSEK) was amazing. The Director issued a statement on the same evening canceling the registration of the Iqra Public School. The Director directly blamed the school for the tragedy. The Directorate’s order added insult to the injuries of the wounded students who are still recuperating in the hospital. One wonders why people react in haste when any tragedy befalls. Let’s hope the DSEK realizes that students are not to be punished for their ill fated excursion bus falling in a gorge.
One needs to ascertain what led to the accident. The road stretch which connects Baba Reshi with Gulmarg is a very steep track and it is in shambles. Hundreds of people throng Gulmarg and Baba Reshi shrine everyday. Officials who manage this world famous tourist resort cannot pass the buck by claiming that they were unaware about the track, which the ill fated school bus had taken to reach Gulmarg, being in a dilapidated condition. Had the officials sounded a caution and declared this stretch of road unfit for heavy vehicles may be this tragedy could have been averted. Unfortunately officials and administration only wake up after something happens. Certain incidents and accidents can be averted if officials develop the sense of anticipation rather than acting as mute spectators.
Everyone, including the Chief Minister, has expressed anguish over the tragedy, but expressing grief only is not going to help. The Government should take some practical steps to ensure that tragedies like this one are not repeated. First of all action should be initiated against the officials who are responsible for maintaining this vital stretch of road. Then an inquiry should be ordered to ascertain why the officials managing Gulmarg and Baba Rreshi shrine did not take a note of this road stretch being dangerous.
Everyone loves to go for outings and picnics. School excursions are a part of the curriculum everywhere in the world. No one can say that one should stop going out because roads are unsafe. It doesn’t happen anywhere. The Government is duty bound to make the roads safe and if it finds any road not motorable it has to declare it rather than allowing people to take a risk.
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Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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