Parents, students hit hard by school bus strike on Friday
On Friday, Anuj Pandey, 40, a resident of Nerul, had to take leave from work to drop his children to school. HT reports.mumbai Updated: Mar 10, 2012 01:06 IST
On Friday, Anuj Pandey, 40, a resident of Nerul, had to take leave from work to drop his children to school.
Normally, his two boys take the school bus to get to St Xavier’s School in Nerul. But the indefinite strike called by the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) from Friday, left Pandey with no choice.
“There have been four school bus strikes in four months and this has become routine. I wanted to ensure my children reached school safely and so I decided to personally drop them,” said Pandey, whose children study in Class 9 and Class 8.
Several parents and students, had to bear the brunt of the strike called by the SBOA. “There was a chaotic situation at the school and finding a taxi was equally difficult. I had to wait for half an hour to get a taxi. Even while I got one, I was stuck at the Mazgaon bridge for half an hour,” said Sangeeta Singh whose child studies in St Mary’s School (ICSE), Mazgaon.
Some schools too faced inconvenience. Ryan International School, Kharghar, put up a notice on its website excusing students living far away from attending school. “I went to the school to drop my son, but school authorities said that only those students who had exams should come to school. So I took him back home,” said Supriya Subudhi, whose son studies in Class 1.
A few schools, which ply their own buses, were also asked to support the strike called by the SBOA. “We were pressurised by the association to go on a strike. But since we have our own buses, we did not join the strike,” said Kavita Aggarwal, principal, D.G Khetan International School, Malad.
“There should not be any compromise made in the safety norms and we are with the government,” Aggarwal added.
Civic activist Indrani Malkani, who was part of the government-appointed committee that drafted the school bus safety policy, said that the SBOA’s demands are not legitimate. “The draft notification was uploaded on the government website in 2010 and the association did not agitate then. So why are they making a big issue of it all of a sudden?” asked Malkani.
“Most of the demands of the association have been fulfilled but for the remaining demands, the SBOA will have to wait as the procedure might take some time,” Malkani added.