Daijiworld Media Network - Kundapur (SP)
Kundapur, Jun 22: Among the families which are going through the agony of having to bear the loss of lives of eight children, two boys and six girls, three are inconsolable because they have lost two children each in the accident which occurred between a private bus and a Maruti Omni vehicle carrying school children to Don Bosco School near Movady Cross, Trasi, on national highway 66. The van that was taking a turn towards the school was hit by a private bus going to the town from the direction of Trasi on Tuesday morning.
Ananya and Nikita
Calista and Clarissa happened to be the children of Stevan and Rita Olivera from Moovattumudi. Stevan is employed at Dubai now, and the couple had got its first child after eight year of married life. Ansita and Alvita, children of Alwin and Reshma Olivera, who died in the tragedy, also happen to be relatives of Stevan. Alwin's son, Renvil, survived the accident with injuries. Alwin works at Bengaluru, while Reshma stays here and looked after the children. Nikhita and Ananya, children of Lloyd D'Silva and Marina D'Silva living at Sulse Cross near Hemmady, also became victims of this tragic accident. Marina, who had earlier served Don Bosco school as teacher, is currently serving another school.
After the collision, the bus dragged the Omni van to a considerable distance before coming to a stop, as a result of which the car hit a name board stationed by the roadside, and was badly mangled.
Out of the 12 injured, car driver, Martin Olivera, school teacher, Philomena, and two other children are being treated in a private hospital in the town. The other children are under the care of KMC Hospital, Manipal. All the deceased and injured students belong to Hemmady, Katbeltoor, Moovattumudi and surrounding villages. Although the school has its own bus facility, their buses do not visit these villages to pick students, and therefore, Martin Olivera used to pick students of these villages for school and again drop them off at their houses in the evening. Gangolli police sub-inspector, Subanna and other staff were involved with rescue operations and also giving a semblance of order to traffic chaos which was created after the accident on highway.
Sub-divisional officer, Ashwathi, deputy superintendent of police, Manjunath Shetty, Byndoor police circle inspector, Sudarshan, Byndoor block education officer, Nagesh Naik etc visited the spot, inspected the site, and tried to console the grieving families. The assistant commissioner felt that van in which students in excess of prescribed limit were being taken to school happens to be a private vehicle, and as such, action would be taken against the concerned.
A large crowd of concerned parents rushed to school after learning of the accident to ensure safety of their close ones and take them home. The entire school premises were enveloped with grief and gloom. The school had declared holiday on Tuesday.
When block education office Byndoor officials asked the headmaster of the school for details of the students travelling in the van, who lost lives in the accident and also information about the injured, there was verbal friction between the two side. When the school management insisted that the school does not have any details, education department officials took the headmaster to task.
People have been analyzing this grave accident and discussing ways and means in which an accident of such proportions could have been avoided everywhere in public places and inside houses. It is crystal clear that neither the educational institutions concerned nor department of education have taken imperative steps to seriously consider the issues concerned and take strict action, although such accidents have been happening often. There has been a habit of indulging in heated discussions for a few days after the incident, framing of guidelines, convening of meetings, and forgetting about them thereafter. It is also true that the parents too do not think hard about ways and means to ensure safety of their children during transportation. Many a time, financial considerations rule over safety concerns, and overloaded and relatively unsafe vehicles driven by inexperienced people are used for taking children to school.
The funerals of deceased children, Royston, Ananya, and Nikhita, are scheduled to be held at 4 pm on June 23 at Tallur church. The other five children will be laid to rest at Gangolli church at 11 am the same day.
Hemmady Bandh: All the students who perished in this ghastly accident hail from around Hemmady. Therefore, call for voluntary Hemmady bandh has been given on Wednesday. No shops, offices, and establishment in Hemmady will be operating on Wednesday.