Following the Bombay High Court order directing the state government to ensure that private vehicles that are allowed to ply as school buses come under the Common Standard Agreement (CSA) guidelines, school bus owners and activists believe that it is high time that authorities follow the necessary safety guidelines while plying school buses.
Arundhati Chavan, president of Parent-Teachers’ Association (PTA) United Forum that had filed a petition stating that rules of permit were not being implemented, said: “Many vehicles with seats less than 13 get permit to ply as school buses. They are dangerous. Children are crammed in those. There has been no check on safety. With court’s intervention, hopefully such vehicles will stop plying children.” The petitioner’s lawyers submitted before the bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni that definition of a school bus in the latest notification issued by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is of a vehicle that can carry more than 13 children which is not being implemented in the state as permits are being given without any compliance.
“We direct the department of respondents concerned to look into such grievances raised in the matter and to see that proper care and caution is exercised to avoid or to stop such vehicles which do not come within the Common Standard Agreement guideline,” the court said. Anil Garg, president of School Bus Owners’ Association, said: “… We will track school buses plying with less than 13 seats and inform the court and RTO.”