RTA crackdown: 44 school buses seized over irregularities in essential documents

It should be noted that a fitness certificate is valid for one year, which expires every year on May 15.
School bus image used for representational purpose only
School bus image used for representational purpose only (Express photo)

HYDERABAD : In the first two days of the school reopening, Regional Transport Authority (RTA) officials seized a total of 44 educational institutional buses (EIBs). Of these, 34 were confiscated for not obtaining the mandatory annual fitness certificate, while the rest were seized due to irregularities in other essential documents, including road tax.

It should be noted that a fitness certificate is valid for one year, which expires every year on May 15.

A notable case involving a bus owner fined Rs 2.68 lakh for pending taxes on a recently bought omnibus. The fine included Rs 2.43 lakh in pending taxes and Rs 25,000 as penalties.

The fine was collected from Pragnya IAS Academy in Musheerabad when the bus was intercepted during an inspection drive on Wednesday. The bus was being used as a school bus without the required authorisation from the District Education Office (DEO) to run a passenger vehicle as a school vehicle.

Sources in the RTA told TNIE that the owner might have been using the vehicle for dual purposes. “Had they not neglected, the tax would have been Rs 750 per quarter for a passenger bus, compared to Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 for an EIB. Instead of paying in lakhs, the amount would have been confined to Rs 12,000 to 13,000,” the source said.

“Not obtaining a fitness certificate is compromising the safety of children. It amounts to carelessness by these institutions despite repeated instructions,” C Ramesh, Joint Transport Commissioner, told TNIE.

Noting that the inspections will go at least till June end, Ramesh added, “For the buses that are nearing 15 years old (the age limit for school buses), sometimes schools don’t apply for the FCs.”

Cases against the seized buses were registered under Section 207 (detain and take action against vehicles found being driven without the necessary permits and registration) of the Central Motor Vehicles (CMV) Act 2019, with the offenders liable to pay a minimum penalty of Rs 5,000, moving up to Rs 17,000 to Rs 18,000 in the absence of essential documents such as a driving license, RC, permit, pollution certificate, tax, and insurance.

As per the RTA authorities, as many as 20,829 EIB run in the state, with over 12,000 plying under the GHMC limits. Of these, around 1,290 are in Hyderabad, around 5,610 in Medchal, and 5,733 in Rangareddy.

According to officials, over 90 percent of the buses in the state (around 19,000) had secured new or renewed the FCs by Thursday evening. In Hyderabad, 969 buses had completed the process, while 321 were yet to undergo it.

Recalling that it is the same situation around this time every year, Ramesh highlighted that schools should not think that obtaining a FC is an extra effort.

Meanwhile, a total of 116 (around 10 percent) of the EIBs procured the FCs in the last four days of the deadline, from June 8 to June 12. “Sometimes schools get the vehicles repaired and then apply for the FCs while there are times that they first wait for transportation charges in the fee and then apply. That is why there is a rush as the deadline nears,” said the source.

90% of buses in TG secured new FCs

According to officials, over 90 percent of the buses in the state (around 19,000) had secured new or renewed the FCs by Thursday evening. In Hyderabad, 969 buses had completed the process, while 321 were yet to undergo it

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