Authorities turn blind eye to overloaded autos plying school children

  • Rameshinder Singh Sandhu, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Jun 02, 2015 13:47 IST

Majority of school autos are most of the times seen over loaded with schoolchildren with some of them (schoolchildren) hanging half in the air. This shows that how the auto driver are overlooking the safety norms and are least bothered about the children.

According to a high court ruling, autos can only ferry six children, but this law has been flouted as more than 15 children can be seen traveling in school autos.

This may remind of a poultry farm vehicle carrying brood of chickens seen on the city roads. Depicting the same, recently, one of the social networking users had posted a picture of an over loaded school auto captioned as "are we also on way to a poultry farm?"

Shockingly, this has been highlighted by the media earlier also, but has failed to move the school authorities. Meanwhile, the city residents have questioned why the traffic police are not playing an active role to avoid overloading. The residents believe that the deputy commissioner (DC) should slap notices to the defaulters.

"Apart from school autos, vans and buses too are seen over loaded, but they are still safe as all children are inside the bus and not hanging half in the air. This is daily noticed and we often wonder how children get packed in a vehicle meant to accommodate not more than 5 to 6 individuals?

Unfortunately, these autos carry at least 15 to 20 children, which can sometimes result in accidents. After all an over loaded light vehicle like auto can lose its balance," said a group of university students, along with several city-based social workers. Adding further they asked if the school authorities were ready to take responsibility in case of any accident.

It is pertinent to mention here that regular meetings were held on how transportation can be made safe in various city schools by involving the traffic police officials, including district transport officer (DTO) Anil Kumar Garg, but these meetings seem to be futile as overloading is still going unchecked.

The DTO, over the issue, said he agreed that these autos were unsafe and added that if any such auto was seen plying on the city roads, challans would be issued there and then and school authorities would be informed about it. "In all the meetings that are held in various schools, we inform all the school authorities and even the parents to avoid sending their kids in autos and prefer bus or a van," he informed HT over the phone.

Official say:

"I know these autos are very unsafe but these days they have decreased a lot as schools have been instructed not use them for transporting children. We will take strict action in any school will ever be found ignoring the traffic norms and even suggestions."

Anil Kumar Garg, district transport officer

Residents say:

"Traffic police needs to very active to address this concern. Just meetings and discussions in schools on safe transport will not help. Strict actions against the schools and drivers of these vehicles have to taken to put a full stop to this menace."

Avaljot Singh Gill

"Parents must unite to question the school authorities if they feel they are flouting the traffic laws and their children are offered unsafe transportation services."

Ratan Mander

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