Waking up to the issue of safety of students, the State Transport Authority on Wednesday asked schools, both government and private, to submit the certificates of police verification of the drivers and conductors of the buses being used to ferry their students.
Similar notices were sent to drivers of buses, autos and taxicabs, asking them to submit their police verification details.
STA Additional Secretary Rajiv Tiwari said, “In order to ensure the safety of residents and school students, we have issued notices to all drivers of buses, autos and taxicabs registered under STA, asking them to submit their police verification details. A separate notice has been sent to all schools which have a direct tie-up with bus operators.’’
“We have taken help from the SSP of Chandigarh to finish this process within two weeks. The Mega Cabs have already sent their details of 72 cab drivers,” said Tiwari.
The obvious trigger for the STA’s action is questions over the background checks of drivers after the alleged rape of a woman in an Uber taxi in Delhi, and also the fact that several taxi services were running their operations in violation of norms.
This is the first time the STA has asked for such information from schools. Four years ago, it had asked city schools to sign formal agreements with bus operators to ensure the students’ safety and had also sent them a draft, but it never checked whether agreements were actually signed.
The city has 108 schools, as many as 82 of them private. Most private schools have either their own buses, or they have an arrangement with private operators with whom they have an agreement.
But only seven government schools have such arrangements. They had refused to sign an agreement with the bus operators, saying that they could not take responsibility for private buses.
Anujit Kaur, principal of the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, said, “It’s the parents who have tie-ups with bus operators. We do not have any links with them. The administration has given them the licence to display the school’s logo and name.’’
Tiwari said, “Ideally, the school principals should have a direct tie-up with the bus operators to ensure the safety of a child.’’ However, he did not say what action they would take against school principals who have not signed such agreements.