The UT education department’s letter on August 21 to all school heads, directing them to stop parents from engaging the service of auto-rickshaws to ferry their wards, has led to panic amongst parents to scout for alternative means. However, confusion persists on whether the directive is mandatory.
Letter sent to the schools was attached with the order issued by State Transport Authority (STA) stating that auto-rickshaws were not a safe mode of transportation and therefore school heads/parents be told to shift to other means.
Acting upon it, several private schools imposed upon parents to immediately stop the services of auto-rickshaws and find other means to ferry their wards.
DAV Public School, Sector 8, even sought an acknowledgement from parents that they would stop engaging auto-rickshaws immediately.
DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, also directed parents to think of other arrangements at the earliest. So were other schools including St John School-26 that directed its students to stop this service. It was suggested that that students either use car-pooling and other modes transportation.
More than 3,000 school students travel on auto-rickshaws in Chandigarh.
Even as Director Public Instructions (School) Kamlesh Kumar could not be contacted, STA secretary Satish Kumar Jain clarified to HT that the orders, forwarded to education department to circulate to all the schools, was not mandatory at all and was advisory in nature.
He added that the purpose was to sensitise parents on the overloading in auto-rickshaws and gradually find other means to ferry children.
“If schools are imposing upon the parents to stop this service, I will speak to the education department about it,” he said
Amidst this confusion however, parents are a harried lot.
Bharat Bhushan Aggarwal, whose ward studies in DAV-8, said that how can parents be directed to arrange other transport means all of sudden. “Leaving everything to parents is not appropriate. Schools must also share responsibility of bringing students to schools.”
Rather than stopping the auto-rickshaws service, authorities need to take action against overloaded rickshaws, which is the root problem, said another parent Avinash Kapoor.