Schools can no longer disown responsibility of the safety of schoolchildren using school buses or even those managed by independent contractors, according to the new policy framed by the Chandigarh administration.
To ensure the safe transportation of school students, the administration has notified Safe Transportation Policy for Students (STRAPS), under which the role of the school management, school bus drivers and operators, and the Chandigarh administration has been delineated.
According to the policy, it will be the duty of the school management to make arrangements for checking the quality of buses and the manpower handling those buses, in keeping with the parameters laid down.
All schools with parking areas inside their premises shall ensure that the children are dropped inside the boundary wall of the school. Where such an arrangement is not possible, a separate area shall be demarcated for this purpose outside the school.
The school management will be responsible for controlling the traffic outside the school at the time of opening and closing of the school. The policy states that the school management shall appoint one of its faculty\staff as transport manager. The school management will have to supply information regarding the school buses, drivers, attendants and children being ferried to the state transport authority.
The policy also delineates the role of bus contractors. They are mandated to ensure that only those people whose credentials have been verified by the police are appointed for school buses. The bus operators have been asked to maintain adequate number of qualified crew.
The drivers and the attendant of school buses shall be subject to a refresher course at least once in three years, to be arranged by the transport department.
Operators must have qualified attendant inside the vehicle in uniform, who are at least matriculate, physically fit and carefully selected by the school.
The operators shall hire drivers having minimum five years of experience, who have never been booked for rash driving, causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others, and causing death by negligence under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.