Overloading: RTO to inspect every school bus and van in Dehradun every day

Officials in state capital will now inspect each and every bus and van ferrying school children everyday between 7 am to 10 am and 3 pm to 6 pm, in a move aimed at checking overloading and in case a serious violation is noticed, the vehicle will be seized

dehradun Updated: Jul 26, 2018 22:02 IST
Nitika Kakkar
Nitika Kakkar
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand high court,Overloaded bus,RTO
Students board a school van in Dehradun.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

Officials in state capital will now inspect each and every bus and van ferrying school children everyday between 7 am to 10 am and 3 pm to 6 pm, in a move aimed at checking overloading and in case a serious violation is noticed, the vehicle will be seized, a senior transport official said Thursday.

“We have taken the step in compliance with the Uttarakhand High Court’s orders. The court has listed some standards, which need to be followed by all vehicles ferrying school children. Those found overloading or not following the other standards shall be given a challan,” Assistant regional transport officer Arvind Kumar Pandey said.

“The vehicles will be seized only in the rarest of rare cases, as per HC’s order. After the challan, the vehicle owners will be given time to make sure they comply with the provisions. If they are found in serious violation of the norms or are observed to be a repeat offender, then the department official can seize their vehicle,” Pandey added.

Reacting to the move, president of school van association Rajeev Bajaj said, “This move has become a serious cause of concern for all the owners and drivers of school vans. This poses a threat to our livelihood. We pay Rs 20,000 annually for insurance followed by fitness tax, road tax and other taxes. Now we are in danger of being fined every other day. It seems as if we are not ferrying children but indulging in a criminal activity.”

There are more than 200 schools in Dehradun. Fifty per cent of these are senior secondary schools. Due to limited number of buses, most of these schools are unable to provide transportation facility to students. As a result, parents tie up with private vans that ferry their children to and fro from school. Currently, there are about 450 such vans operating in the city.

For many parents, vans are the best option for their children. “My son studies in Class 6. It has been more than five years since he started going to school by a van. During these five years, I never got a reason to complain against the van or its driver. I’m at peace knowing my child is in secure hands,” said Monika Bhatia whose son is a student as St. Joseph’s Academy.

However, many also cited problems with the vans. “Both my sons go to school by a van. Their school starts at 7.40am and it takes around 15 minutes to reach the school from our house. Still, they get up at 5.30 am every day as the van comes to pick them up before 6.30,” said Achint Jain whose sons study at an elite public school. “The kids have often complained of the van being crowded as the drivers sometimes carry up to 14 children at one time,” he added.

Jennifer Kumar, the president of ICSE Schools’ Association of the city said the students will be much safer if they travel by school buses or vehicles owned and operated by the school. But he also acknowledged the lack of the same. “However, the schools cannot be held responsible for the private vehicles ferrying the students as it is not possible to keep a track of all of them. In this case, it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that the safety of their child is in the right hands. They should be thorough in their background check before sending their wards with drivers of these private vehicles,” he said.

First Published: Jul 26, 2018 22:02 IST