The CAG has blamed the UT government for failing to collect `24.15 lakh under the students special bus scheme implemented by the government.
The scheme provides transport facilities at concessional rate(`1) to the students of government and aided schools in Puducherry and Karaikal regions by engaging private bus operators through Puducherry Road Transport Corporation (PRTC). The operators were paid fixed amount per month for allotted routes on the basis of distance covered per day.
The CAG report pointed out that the scheme was operated for the past three years without any formal tripartite agreement between the Directorate of School Education (DSE), PRTC and private bus operators.
As against deducting the rate of ` 1,000 as expenditure towards per day diesel cost per bus, the deduction of only ` 7,000 was made from the monthly bills relating to summer vacation period, as demanded by the bus operators, instead of `22,000 (22 working days) required to be made. This resulted in unintended benefit of ` 24.15 lakh to private bus operators.
Consequent to the accident that occurred on October 31, 2011 to a special bus, which claimed the life of one student and injured 62 others, the directorate instructed the operators to restrict the load and not allow more than 80 students to travel at a time.
However, the CAG stated that operators did not follow the norms and established it through a photo in which students were hanging out both from the doors as well from a railing behind the bus.
Further, no information was available with the PRTC or DSE on how many students actually used the transport service, though the DSE deducted ` 100 per day as charges for 50 students towards to and fro trip from the monthly bill of the bus operator; it did not have mechanism to assess the number of students covered under the scheme.
The report stated that theschool buses were not operated in conformity with the directions of Supreme Court. Firefighting equipment and first aid box were not found in the buses and students were allowed to board the bus in excess of the permitted capacity.