School bus owners threaten to go on strike | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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School bus owners threaten to go on strike

mumbai Updated: May 21, 2011 01:12 IST
Shashank Rao
Shashank Rao
Hindustan Times
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Unhappy with the new guidelines and the limited time to ensure its implementation, the School Bus Owner’s Association has threatened to go on strike after a meeting with its members on May 28.

Anil Garg, president, School Bus Owner’s Association, that provides buses on contract to most schools in city, said: “All members would be meeting on May 28 to decide the further course of action. We are ready to go on a strike.”

According to the members, they are not being given enough time for the implementation of the guidelines. “There is no time left for training the drivers and cleaners before the schools begin in June. Following the rules within such short time frame will be difficult,” said another member of the association.

Moreover, the presence of a lady attendant has been made mandatory if the school bus carries female students, said a source from the regional transport office (RTO).

The school bus owners claim though the appointment of a lady attendant was the responsibility of the school in the initial draft, it has now been thrust on them. Besides, the lady attendants too will have to be provided training.

Dilip Jadhav, transport commissioner, said, “We would soon inform the relevant agencies and begin the process of training the lady attendants within a week.”

Though insistent on the implementation of guidelines from June, the transport department has allowed the partial fulfillment of the requirements, if complying with them in entirety is tough.

As they have been asked to make the changes, the association is now demanding that the students be compulsorily ferried in school buses. “There should be a complete ban on commercial vans and cars that ferry schoolchildren. Commuting by autorickshaws too should be stopped,” said another member from the association.

There are certain schools that use BEST buses solely for ferrying children after the school hours. “If these BEST buses are used to ferry schoolchildren only, then the guidelines should be applicable to them too,” added Jadhav. The RTO plans to write to the schools that have been using BEST buses to ply schoolchildren.