Mumbai: New school bus safety policy likely next week

  • Puja Pednekar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 15, 2015 00:53 IST

A new school bus safety policy ensuring a safe ride for school students might be released by next week, say experts. The policy will address the problem of illegal vans ferrying children to schools, school principals bearing the responsibility of the safety of the school bus and other issues that have plagued the city schools and buses.

A school bus committee was constituted in 2010 to come up with guidelines to ensure the safety of children in the school transport. The panel recently comprised of transport commissioner Sonia Sethi and education commissioner Purshottam Bhapkar, along with experts such as Indrani Malkani, who drafted the initial school bus policy, Anil Garg, president of the School Bus Owners Association and two Regional Transport Officers.

According to sources in the transport and education department, the draft policy is almost ready and could be released within the next seven to eight days. “The new draft policy is nearly done, but the transport department has referred it to the education department for some of the points, especially relating to school principals,” said a senior official from the education department. “The policy can be expected to be released soon.”

One of the major points expected to be included in the policy is the regulation of those private vans, which are not abiding by safety norms and risking the lives of the students. This was the major demand of the school bus owners.

“Students use private vans, autorickshaws and other means of transport to go to school,” said Garg, who is part of the committee drafting the policy. “We want the safety policy to be implemented for everyone and not be restricted to school buses alone.”

There is also a demand to change another provision of the previous policy, which held the school principal responsible for the safety of the school bus. “The school bus contractor should be held responsible, the principal is only a mediator,” said Garg.

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