‘One seat, one child’ norm in school buses: Problems galore

  • Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2016 13:38 IST
As the authorities are concentrating on school buses, overloaded vans ferrying schoolchildren are a common sight across the city. (Gurpreet Singh/HT Photo)

The implementation of ‘one seat, one child’ norm in buses ferrying school students has given way to new problems to the parents, school authorities and bus operators.

The schools in the city are now facing shortage of vehicle. Bus operators reportedly have dropped of the list some students who were being picked and dropped to the chagrin of the parents, who are crying hoarse. Some operators have hiked the fare, it is learnt.

Under the Safe School Vahan Scheme (in keeping with the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988), buses belonging to an educational institution should not carry children in excess of the seating capacity.

With the Act being implemented strictly following court orders, school vans in the city are no more overcrowded. The problem has struck at the start of the new academic session for most of the schools. A few other schools are bracing up for a similar situation.

A number of students who had been commuting by buses were left high and dry when the buses didn’t stop at the desired place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The van my ward and his cousins had been commuting by comes to pick up students in our locality, but the driver refused to let in my son and his cousins. We have been asked to arrange another van,” said a parent, requesting anonymity.

The parent said when he insisted on adjusting his son, the driver quoted monthly travel fee that was exorbitant. “Because of this, the children of our family have missed school for the past few days. It is not possible for us to drop and pick them up daily as we all are working,” he said.

The authorities at Spring Dale Senior School said they were summoned for a meeting in this regard only a few days before the beginning of the new session, whereas more time should have been given as it involved arranging more vans or making alternative travel arrangements for students.

“We are taking measures to sort out this problem for our students,” said Seema Swani, transport coordinator, Spring Dale.

Stating that the problem was likely to hit her school once the students of Class 11 will start attending classes, Delhi Public School principal Sangeeta Singh said as of now the school had warded off the crisis by rescheduling the routes. “We make sure that all our students commuting by school vans get a seat. We

have asked our service provider to press in more buses. However, the problem can arise in future when Class 11 students start attending classes,” she said.

District education officer (secondary) Satinderbir Singh said the issue was in his knowledge. “What is equally disturbing is the fact that the van fares have been hiked, which has put unwarranted financial burden on the parents whose wards commute by vans, besides causing harassment to those whose wards are not being picked by school vans,” he said.

Singh said he would write to the government in this regard. “We can only apprise the government of the problem. We do not have any execution powers,” he said.

Parents resort to auto-rickshaws

The shortage of school buses has forced some parents to make a beeline for the potentially unsafe auto-rickshaws. This is evident from the fact that a number of three-wheelers can nowadays be seen ferrying students more then the capacity. “In the absence of school vans, we are left with no other option, but three-wheelers,” said a parent, requesting anonymity.

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