VISAKHAPATNAM: Utter negligence of schools managements and indifference of parents are putting the lives of scores of schoolchildren travelling by the school buses in jeopardy. While the mandatory precautions are thrown to the wind by the school managements, the parents pay no attention to the norms followed by the schools.
Except for token measures, even the officials are not taking steps to ensure safety of students travelling by the school buses citing helplessness.
Following a series of accidents involving school buses, the state government issued the GO 35 in 2011 making it mandatory for all educational institutions to follow 32 rules for operating the school buses and 24 for the college buses. However, the raids conducted by the Road Transport Authority of Visakhapatnam at the beginning of the academic year revealed that over 90 per cent of the buses in the district do not comply with the norms prescribed by the GO 35. None of the parents complained for obvious reason that their children might be put to trouble at the school. Thus they become accomplices.
According to the conditions laid down by the state government, the appointment of driver should be approved by the parents committee. One person each from the parents committee and the school management committee (teacher or a non-teaching person) should travel in the bus from the starting point to the end point everyday. They should sit in the first row of the vehicle and guide the driver, if necessary. The maximum age of the driver should be 50 years. The driver should have five years of driving experience from the date of obtaining licence.
“But more than 90 per cent of the buses plying in Visakhapatnam do not follow these most important norms. However, the RTA cannot seize the vehicles on these charges. In fact, we cannot seize the vehicles even for the lapses in the insurance coverage,” a senior RTA official said.
Not a pretty sight
The RTA can only seize the vehicles for non-payment of vehicle tax, lack of valid permission for the bus, lack of valid licence to the driver and fitness certificate to the vehicle.
Over 90 per cent of school buses do not comply with the following norms
One person each from the parents committee and the school management should travel in the bus from the starting point to the end everyday.
The appointment of driver should be confirmed by the parents committee.
The age of the driver should not be more than 50 years.
The driver should have five-year driving experience after obtaining driving licence.