6-12 seater vans will be allowed to ferry schoolchildrenNews — By The Desk on June 17, 2011 at 5:33 PM
Indian Express: In Its first meeting on Thursday, the District School Bus Safety Committee decided to legalise smaller vans with a capacity of 6-12 seats as a means of transportation for schoolchildren. While no official figures were available on the number of such vans ferrying schoolchildren, estimates put the number plying illegally in the city at around 2,200 . The panel has also decided to monitor such vehicles that ferry schoolchildren.
The meeting at the police commssioner’s office was attended by Commissioner of Police Meeran Borwankar, Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Arun Yeola, director of secondary education GK Mhamane, director of primary education Rohidas Pote and other senior officials.
“We’ll have follow-up meetings every six months, with representation from all the stakeholders. Also, with the help of the education department, we’ll ensure that all schools form a school transport committee. This committee will comprise an assistant inspector from RTO, a traffic officer of the area and parents’ groups. The committee will submit quarterly reviews to us. This process will help us monitor implementation of the guidelines,” said Yeola on the sidelines of the meeting.
Explaining the intricacies of the guidelines, he said the main focus is to motivate schools and parents to go for safe transport for children. It also provides various incentives like a tax exemptions upto Rs 100 per seat per annum. “For example, if a 30-seater vehicle was paying Rs 30,000 as taxes, it will be reduced to Rs 3000,” he said.
As per the recent guidelines issued by the state transport department, all kinds of four wheelers that comply with the regulations like installing a child lock, bars on windows, having an attendant and procuring a contract carriage licence with a yellow number plate will now be allowed to ferry schoolchildren.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said, “Even now, if we get to know of cases of vans plying without contract carriage permits, we suspend their licence or take necessary actions. We will provide full co-operation to the RTO to enure the new guidelines are implemented.”
Prashant Inamdar of Pedestrians First, however, said strict monitoring is required to make school transporation in city safe. “The school transport regulations stipulate that only vehicles with school transport permit will be allowed to ferry schoolchildren. However, even though schools have reopened, only 19 permits have so far been issued by the RTO. Special counters should be opened at RTO office for speedy clearance of applications. A specific time limit should be specified within which all operators should obtain the permit,” he said.