Concerned about the safety of schoolchildren travelling by private vans, school bus operators have demanded that steps be taken to ensure these vehicles adhere to the safety norms.
Following the incident of a private jeep attendant molesting a three-year-old in Goregaon on Friday, School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) on Monday wrote to the commissioner of police, Rakesh Maria, seeking immediate action against operators who do not follow the safety norms.
The SBOA has also forwarded the letter to chief minister Devandra Fadnavis and the state transport department.
“Private vans ferrying schoolchildren are required to follow the same set of rules as those applicable to school buses. The owners too have to sign a safety agreement with schools and get a special permit from the RTO. However, there are several unauthorised vans that do not follow the rules,” said Anil Garg, president of the SBOA.
The bus operators have demanded action against schools and transport officials for not reporting unauthorised private vehicles ferrying school children.
“We want action to be taken against school authorities, who have failed to inform you (Maria) about the unauthorised operators. Also, an inquiry should be initiated against traffic personnel in whose jurisdiction such vehicles are found to be operating,” the letter said.
Garg added that parents opt for such vehicles as they are a cheaper option as compared to school buses. “While selecting a transport (option) for their children, parents do not make the necessary inquiries. To save some money, parents often risk the safety of their children. More awareness needs to be created among them,” he said.
The Kurar police registered a case on Saturday against a 19-year old for sexually assaulting a nursery student. The man was the helper of a private jeep that was being used to transport schoolchildren. The police are verifying if the jeep had the necessary permit.
In a letter to police chief Rakesh Maria, which has also been sent to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and the state transport department, School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) on Monday have demanded:
Action against schools and transport officials for not reporting unauthorised private vehicles ferrying school children
Inquiry against traffic personnel in whose jurisdiction such unauthorised private vehicles ferry schoolchildren
Parents make the necessary inquiries before arranging for transport for their children.