Pune schools: Kids commute at risk with no proper watchdog, lack of norms

Attempts to contact the education department to get a comment were not successful.

ON PAPER, Pune district has managed to form the district school transport committee, which is to act as a watchdog for safe transport of students to school.

More than 90 per cent of the schools have managed to form the transport committees. Headed by the school principal, these committees ensure the prescribed norms for school buses are followed. However, the problem comes in regulation of autorickshaws with the RTO and schools shifting the onus on each other.

As per records kept by the district school transport committee, 4,456 schools in the district have registered the formation of their school transport committees. These committees have representations from the parents, local citizens and others. Some of the committees have also representatives from the parent-school transport committee to monitor the transport. The RTO has also enlisted the services of the motor vehicle inspectors to check on the authorised school transport at various parts of the district. The website schoolbussafetypune.org lists outs the details of the committees and their members. Most schools, have failed to appoint a female attendant in buses, but have listed out the names and numbers of the schoolbus drivers. Officers of the RTO admitted that checking of buses was not a regular phenomenon.

However, the problem arises with autorickshaws being used as mode of transport. Jitendra Patil, regional transport officer (RTO) Pune, said the autorickshaws are passenger vehicles and thus, any arrangements between the parents and the auto drivers for ferrying students are a private one. “Rickshaws, by definition, do not come in the ambit of the school transport committees,” he said, adding, the work of regular scrutiny of the transport system is school’s responsibility.

Attempts to contact the education department to get a comment were not successful.

Source : Indian Express

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Back side of a rickshaw where more than 17 students are picked by auto rickshaws that has been dangerously playing in city roads like one near Bajirao road. Express Photo by Arul Horizon, 08-07-2016, Pune

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