As BMC, BEST bicker over payment for bus service, children miss school | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

As BMC, BEST bicker over payment for bus service, children miss school

Aug 14, 2023 12:42 AM IST

The GV Scheme school, which is run by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), provides school buses in coordination with BEST. However, buses have not been provided this academic year as the BMC has not paid BEST for their services and the file concerned is stuck in bureaucracy, according to activists.

Mumbai: Ever since schools reopened in mid-June, around 50-60 students from Airoli’s Chinchpada have not been able to go to Gawande Vanje Yojana school, Mulund East, due to the unavailability of BEST buses.

Mumbai, India - Aug. 12, 2023: School students of GV Scheme school in Mulund west are unable to go to school for past 2 months because of unavailability for BEST school buses. In pic, Sibling Simran and Anmol Devipuja at their house in Chinch Pada Airoli in Navi Mumbai, India, on Saturday, August 12, 2023. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - Aug. 12, 2023: School students of GV Scheme school in Mulund west are unable to go to school for past 2 months because of unavailability for BEST school buses. In pic, Sibling Simran and Anmol Devipuja at their house in Chinch Pada Airoli in Navi Mumbai, India, on Saturday, August 12, 2023. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

This has resulted in some of these students staying at home in the slums of Chinchpada and some being forced to change the schools and their medium of education.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

The GV Scheme school, which is run by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), provides school buses in coordination with BEST.

However, buses have not been provided this academic year as the BMC has not paid BEST for their services and the file concerned is stuck in bureaucracy, according to activists.

They said that there might be more students from the area who are unable to go to school for the same reason.

The slums in Chinchpada have students from Gujarati community and the GV Scheme school is the nearest Gujarati medium school for them.

Mukesh Devipuja, whose three children are studying in the school, expressed his concern over them missing out on their schooling.

“The school keeps telling us that they are working on providing the buses, but it has been two months now and the children are home all the time. If the school buses start, they can get back to their school-time routine and their education can continue,” said Devipuja.

Devipuja said that the only alternative they have is a school in Ghatkopar, but it involves a longer commute.

“After the lockdown, we shifted our children to the BMC school here. Some parents shifted their child to the school in Ghatkopar due to unavailability of buses. Children now play all day. The buses were regular in the last academic year,” said Pooja Devipuja, Mukesh’s wife.

The issue came to light when social activist Chaitra Yadavar and Pranit Rao, from Dira Social Welfare Foundation, noticed this while working for children’s welfare, education and women empowerment in Chinchpada slum.

Dira Social Welfare Foundation is an NGO working in Navi Mumbai for the children’s welfare, education and women empowerment for past few years.

“There is no justice here. We have the right to education in our country, but it is stuck in bureaucracy and the children are missing their schools,” said Chaitra.

“We have been told that the BEST bus which used to pick up and drop children at school is not operating anymore because of payment issues. The BMC has not paid the BEST, and the file is stuck at the education department,” said Chaitra.

Sunita, whose three children study at the GV scheme school, said, “The children have been promoted but they haven’t been able to go to the school. If they have to use public transport, they have to first go to Sector 3 in Airoli and then take another bus from there. But these children are young and cannot travel alone.”

“We have been requesting the school to start a bus for two months now. They keep saying it will start, but so far it has not. The teachers also visited our area to make a list of the students but there is no bus yet,” She added.

Meanwhile, not able to attend the school since their summer vacation, these children while away their time playing at a community spot outside a temple. Chaitra said she fears that they may fall into wrong activities if anti-social elements from nearby areas get to them.

While many parents wait for the bus service to start, some have shifted their children to other schools. And some have even changed their medium.

Kinjal Panchalia, studying in the third standard, was forced to take admission to a nearby Marathi medium school. Asked why, all that Kinjal could say is that there was some problem with her school bus.

Kajal Panchalia, Kinjal’s relative, said, “when the bus service stopped, we feared that she would miss out on her education and that’s why we shifted her to a school here in the area and in a different medium. Earlier, she was in Gujarati medium, now she is in Marathi medium.”

The problem, however, is not just limited to Gujarati medium students. This BMC-run school also offers Hindi and Marathi medium.

“Children from all the three mediums have been missing their classes. I know about these 50-60 children because I work in this community but there are many more from the nearby area who have not been going to the school,” said Chaitra.

An official from the BMC’s education department said, “There has been a change of rate charged by BEST and that’s why we had to send a fresh proposal. The buses are not operating because the proposal is awaiting approval. It is in the final stage, and we will finish the process soon.”

(Inputs from Niraj Pandit)

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Stay updated with all the Breaking News and Latest News from Mumbai. Click here for comprehensive coverage of top Cities including, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and more across India. Stay informed on the latest happenings in World News.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 25, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On