MYSORE: Autorickshaw and van drivers have been given time till the end of August to strictly comply with the Supreme Court guideline of restricting the number of schoolchildren in their vehicles to six and eight respectively.
At a meeting at the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Monday, Police Commissioner M A Saleem made it clear that there could be no compromise in implementing the Supreme Court order. This comes two days after drivers went on strike and refused to ferry children, protesting against the police for imposing the restrictions and fining violators.
The agitators had also apprised Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of their woes during his visit to the city on Sunday. Following requests from drivers, the Police Commissioner has allowed autorickshaws and vans to carry eight and 12 schoolchildren, respectively, till the end of August.
“Though it is a violation, we had to give them time. Till then, we have allowed autos and vans to carry a few extra children,” he said.
At the meeting, the drivers informed Saleem and Deputy Commissioner Palaiah that it was not feasible for them to ferry so few children. They said that with the current prices of fuel and vehicle spare parts, it would be impossible for them to eke out a living.
Saleem said the Supreme Court had laid out 14 guidelines for vehicles ferrying schoolchildren. He said he was implementing only one of the rules so that the drivers are not much inconvenienced.
“If all 14 rules are implemented, the drivers will face a lot of difficulty,” he said, adding that the restrictions were being imposed for the safety of the children. If it is not feasible for drivers to ferry the number of students allowed, they can charge more for the service. But, they will not be allowed to carry more students, he said.