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Principals to face heat for illegal school vans in Delhi

The government has said that school principals will be held responsible in case of a mishap while ferrying children in such vans.

delhi Updated: Dec 28, 2018 11:15 IST
Fareeha Iftikhar
Fareeha Iftikhar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
illegal school vans,school vns,private vehicles school van
A view of the school van, which was involved in an accident with a tempo resulting in the death of one student, is seen parked at Timar Pur police Station in New Delhi, India(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The Delhi government has warned all private recognised and unaided schools in the city to regulate private vehicles operating as school vans without valid permits in accordance to the Supreme Court guidelines.

The government has said that school principals will be held responsible in case of a mishap while ferrying children in such vans.

In a circular issued by the Delhi government’s directorate of education (DoE) on Wednesday, the principals or heads of schools (HOSs) were asked to “strictly” comply with the norms. “This is to bring to the notice of principals/HoSs of all the private recognised unaided schools functioning within the territory of Delhi that a large number of school vans are operating illegally for ferrying students between their homes and schools without taking adequate safeguards towards safety of school children. It is also known that these vans are primarily hired by the parents. The Delhi traffic police and transport department have tried to impress upon the concerned school principals to brief parents not to use these school vehicles, which are not following norms,” said DoE director Sanjay Goel in the circular.

It, however, added that the school principals were responsible for the safety of children. “The concerned school administration shall be held responsible for non-compliance of directions by the school vans/cabs being used to ferry students of their schools, especially in cases where such vehicles (owned by schools or hired by parents) meet with accidents resulting in injury or death of the school children. The necessary action shall also be taken against the defaulting schools in case such an unfortunate accident happens,” Goel said in the circular.

The move comes a month after an eight-year-old student of a private school was killed and nine other children were injured when a speeding goods carrier hit an overloaded private school van in north Delhi’s Dheerpur. The incident had prompted the Delhi government to ask the transport department to formulate a fresh school cab policy by January 2019.

As per the Supreme Court guidelines, school vehicles should follow several norms — such as having ‘on school duty’ written prominently on the back and the front, horizontal grilles on windows, first-aid boxes, fire extinguishers, reliable locks, experienced drivers and at least one conductor. The speed of the vehicle should not exceed 50km/h.

Meanwhile, the committee of private recognised and unaided schools in Delhi termed the government’s order as ‘impractical’.

“How is it even possible for the schools to monitor thousands of private vehicles ferrying students across the city. We take complete responsibility of children at the school campuses. But how can we keep a tab on all the modes of transport parents are choosing over school vans. We are going to oppose this rule and demand the government to withdraw it immediately,” said SK Bhattacharya, president of the committee. He demanded similar order be issued for government schools as well.

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 11:15 IST