The Maharashtra government should provide affordable public transport facilities, so that children of slum residents can travel to schools, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has recommended.
The commission recently passed an order saying as per the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, it is the duty of the state government to arrange public transport services for children living in slums, so they can access schools.
The order was given in connection to a case filed by Door Step School, an organisation based in Grant Road. The organisation had complained that several places in the city such as Ganesh Murthi Nagar, Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar, Shiv Shakti Nagar in Backbay, Cuffe Parade – where a majority of residents belong to the scheduled castes and tribes or other backward classes – do not have access to schools.
“A majority of children who are residing in these slums are in the 6-8 age group, and so they cannot travel on their own. Their parents are daily wage workers and are unable to accompany them,” reads the complaint filed by the organisation. “So BEST bus services are required at concessional rates in these areas.”
Many children were being deprived of school education as their parents could not afford to pay the hiked BEST fare, which goes against the provisions of the RTE Act, the complaint stated.
“It is the duty of the state under the RTE Act to provide education to children between 6-14 years and cheap public transport services to access that education,” said AN Tripathi, secretary of the commission.