PUNE: The District School Bus Committee will hold a meeting on Monday to coordinate among parents, school administration, the traffic police department and the Regional Transport Office (RTO) about safe transportation of students as per the Bombay High Court directive.
Every year, the committee calls a meeting as a ritual but nothing substantial happens. This year, the panel is doing the same thing and will put the onus on parents to check the facility.
The department will launch a crackdown on bus operators whose buses flout safety norms while plying on city roads, putting the safety of children on board at risk.
The transport authority will meet representatives of all private schools across the city on Monday and instruct them to upgrade their vehicles with vital installations as per the norms listed with the guidance of the court.
“We have informed all schools that attendance at the meeting is compulsory. Parents are free to call in with complaints of schools flouting the norms and we will take prompt action. We will ask school authorities to submit their reports on schools vehicles every month,” said Sanjay Raut, Deputy RTO, Pune.
“The schools will have to submit the contract carriage bus permit to the RTA office for buses hired from contractors. The RTA officials will check the fitness of these buses and put them through a physical test at the passing ground,” he said.
“The RTO has always been insisting on the safety of children travelling by buses and other vehicles to school and the workshop will focus on the same. Drivers and bus attendants have an important part to play. They will be told in length about different steps and actions they need to take to ensure the safety of children. In addition, they will be clearly told about the things, which they need to have in their vehicles and ways to ascertain that their vehicles are in good condition always as they are carrying children,” Raut said.
However, sources from the department said they are not getting the cooperation they expected from other stakeholders such as the police and the Education Department.
“Every year after summer vacations when schools reopen, we discuss the issue. In fact, we conduct several drives for schools as well as drivers. Schools allow vans to board children and they put the onus on parents as the latter hire private vehicles. But it is school’s responsibility to check all vehicles carrying children,” said the sources.
“It is up to parents also not to allow private van operators, who have no licence to ply school vans. Also, parents continuously call the driver, if he does not reach on time, which causes the drivers to use earphones and talk continuously with parents,” said the source.
Officials claimed that the city traffic police are also not paying attention to over-loaded school vehicles. Most of the time, vans and auto-rickshaws ride with over-capacity.