With three cases of sexual assault reported in school buses since January,the Mumbai Traffic Police have now expanded their surveillance and will check credentials of the staff in school buses across the city. With most of the assaults reported in moving buses,the department has decided to also monitor the buses,said officials.
Beginning October 1,the department has collated a database of drivers,cleaners and attendants,and covered 639 schools. The initiative comes under the One Cop-One School project,where the department has built partnerships with schools to ensure better surveillance.
Each school bus will have a traffic constable monitoring its route and checking the attendance of the personnel on a daily basis,officials said. This is being done on a trial basis but the department is looking to find ways in which monitoring of the buses can be improved.
The data on school bus staff will be fed into the traffic department systems and made available to chowkies across the city,and regions covered in the bus route.
The traffic police have taken down details of 544 drivers,448 cleaners and 324 attendants,said Pratap Dighavkar,Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic).
Dighavkar said the exercise was a proactive measure that would help instil discipline among school bus attendants and drivers. We have observed other issues like illegal parking,accidents and negligence. To solve these problems,regular police presence is necessary in the premises, he said.
The police officer assigned for a school will have the mobile numbers of drivers,cleaners and attendants. The cop in charge of the school or college will have to interact with parents, said Dighavkar.
Cases of Sexual Assault
January 19 A 4-year-old KG student was molested by school bus attendant Ramesh Rajput. Rajput was arrested and seven months later,convicted under the POCSOA
February 21 A 3-year-old girl from a playgroup in Malad was molested by a school bus staffer. A woman attendant was present in the moving bus when the incident occurred. Sandeep Pandurang Mandale (24),the cleaner,was identified by the girl and booked under POCSOA and IPC
September 15 School bus cleaner Sandeep Kerve was arrested for allegedly raping a 4-year-old student in Badlapur. The assault took place in the bus while it was parked in the compound of a school