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Safer ride to school

mumbai Updated: Jun 25, 2010 00:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Your child's trip to school and back is set to get safer.

The state Cabinet on Thursday approved a new policy for school buses across the state with special emphasis on safety aspects because of recent accidents involving vehicles that carried school children.

The Hindustan Times had reported in January that the government was planning to introduce a policy for safe school bus travel.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the policy will be effective from this academic session. The cut-off dates for implementation of the policy will be announced soon.

“Schools and contracted transporters will have to abide by the rules and regulations else they will be booked under relevant laws,” Chavan said.

“Henceforth, all school buses will be painted yellow and must have a special permit. Only drivers with a minimum experience of five years can operate school buses that will have speed governors fitted on them. “

The government has been under pressure to introduce this policy after a couple of accidents involving school buses in Navi Mumbai.

On August 20, 2009, a school bus ferrying 22 students of Changukana Thakur School, New Panvel, went up in flames because of a short circuit. Six children died. Less than four months later, two school buses collided on

Palm Beach Road, Navi Mumbai. Nine students and two teachers were injured.

The new policy bars private vehicles from transporting school students on a commercial basis.

The state has fixed the annual taxes for procuring a permit at Rs 100 per seat to encourage transporters to get into the business in an organised manner. But the concession comes with a rider:

The buses cannot carry more students than their approved seating capacity.

Autorickshaws can carry only five children at a time but they will not get a separate permit for ferrying students.

The state has made it clear that parents will be solely responsible for students travelling in autorickshaws.

Schools, transporters, police, transport authorities and parents will share the responsibility of the safety of schoolchildren.