iconimg Monday, August 31, 2015

Prajakta Chavan Rane, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 14, 2013
School-parent associations in the city have refused to back school bus operators against the transport department, which has initiated a crackdown against school buses that violate rules.

Operators have threatened to stay off the road if the crackdown continues, but parents say they prefer the inconvenience of not having school buses rather than risking the safety of their children in buses that don’t meet the standards.

Last week, the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) inspe-cted 320 school buses, of which 92 were found to be violating norms. At least 25 buses had major lapses such as lack of fitness certificates, no rods or nets on windows, no speed governors and no emergency exits.

“As per the court directive, no contractor can keep buses off the road. The RTO should continue its action to ensure that children’s safety is not compromised,” said Anujkumar Pandey, secretary of All India Federation of Parents Teachers Association.

Dr MS Deshmukh, president of Students Welfare Association, said: “Parents must insist that sc-hools implement the bus policy.”

Anil Garg, president of School Bus Owners’ Association, clai-med that speed governors are not available in the market. Bharat Kalaskar, deputy regional transport officer, Andheri, said they are available. “Bus operators are not installing them as they want to use school buses for private parties and need faster buses for that.”