The School Bus Owners’ Association (SBOA) has decided to file a contempt petition against the state government in the Bombay High Court as it has not implemented the court order that transport authorities must inspect and certify the buses for road-worthiness before April 30.
The Maharashtra Rajya Truck, Tempo, Tankers, Bus Vahatuk Mahasangh, the apex body of transporters, supported the SBOA and it will file another petition to prevent the state from installing speed governors on vehicles in the state.
This decision was taken in the school bus operators’ meeting held at Sion on Tuesday evening. “The transport department didn’t follow the high court’s order to renew physical fitness certification for the buses before April 30. Also, they haven’t come up with amended rules yet though the deadline for this was over a long time back,” said Anil Garg, president, SBOA.
“The regional transport offices haven’t renewed physical fitness certificates of many old buses. We can’t ensure that buses will ply on roads when schools open later this month," said Garg.
SBOA will also oppose speed governors on their buses.
“Despite installing speed governors in Kerala, the number of accidents increased, while in Karnataka, the period for installing speed governors was extended by six months. Why is our government in a hurry?” Harsh Kotak, conveyor of SBOA, told HT. The school bus operators discussed various other issues related to the school bus policy.
“We don't agree with three main points in the draft rules (of new policy) - the 15-year age limit for the buses, mandatory speed governors and the fitting of one more emergency door. We are not going to compromise on these issues,” said Kotak.
VN More, transport commissioner, assured that the school bus operators’ concerns would be addressed. “We have sent our opinion on the suggestions and objections (about the policy) to the government. The government decision is expected any time.”
According to sources, More has recommended that operators be given two-three months’ time to make necessary changes to the buses.