A road crash killed a kid of a prestigious city school in April last year. Officials rushed to moot a school bus system to ensure safety. Then on, many more similar accidents have taken place. But there are no signs of the much-touted system being implemented anytime soon.
In fact, just about everyone - right from officials of the transport department, the district administration, schools to private operators - has been busy passing the buck. The transport department sought the numbers (of students) from schools. But there has hardly been any response from schools. They say transportation is not their headache.
The Commissioner said action would be taken against principals not falling in line. But nothing really happened. Now, on May 2, parents will hold a meeting on how to deal with schools not willing to cooperate.
Last year, Lucknow Commissioner Prashant Trivedi asked then DM Chandra Bhanu to set the plan rolling by persuading school principals into ferrying kids in their buses or to hire vehicles from private operators or the UPSRTC.
Not only did Chandra Bhanu fail, his two successors, too, could not fare any better. Incidentally, the DM is the head of the road safety council, which ensures road safety and a better traffic system. The council, it is learnt, has not met for long.
A seemingly frustrated Chandra Bhanu once told this correspondent, "Technically, I cannot interfere in schools' functioning. I will try that they fall in line." He went on to say, "Wait for a few more days. After that, you can start writing this system is not going to be started."
Chandra Bhanu's successor AK Ghosh, who joined in September last (now transferred to Kanpur), said his priorities included speedy implementation of the school bus system. Nothing happened. Now, current DM Anil Kumar Sagar says, "The administration will very soon meet the representatives of schools and educational institutions at the collectorate on how to revive the scheme."
Since schools don't make known their requirement, nothing much was done. Schools say their prime task is to impart quality education.
The UPSRTC and private operators have agreed to provide vehicles for the system. But costing is another hurdle. Till now, mostly non-CNG buses operated. Conversion will coast a lot.
Most existing diesel buses are in bad state. So much so that spending Rs 2 lakh on their conversion will not be a good idea. A new bus will cost about Rs 15 lakh, putting fair on the higher side.