School administrations in Pune have been asked to report parents, who send their children to schools in unauthorised vehicles, to the School Transport Committee. The committee, comprising Regional Transport Office (RTO) officials, traffic police and officers from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)’s school education department, will then meet such parents and counsel them.
On Friday, the RTO had invited at least 800 principals from schools across the city for a meeting, where they were asked to comply to the rules about contracts between schools and transport contractors. The meeting also focused on increasing awareness about students’ safety while travelling, and officials sought the active participation of the schools in tying up with bus contractors. Deputy RTO Sanjay Raut, PMC’s Education Officer Dipak Mali and Sudhakar Dhamale of Pune Traffic Police attended the meeting.
Raut, said, “Principals of the schools are still apprehensive about the mandatory contract between the transporter and school administration. They fear that it will result in their harassment in case of any untoward incident. We have assured the school managements that in case of any argument between the bus drivers and the school administration, no action will be taken against the school and the RTO will extend their support to the school.
But we also expect the schools and their staff to maintain a positive approach towards bus drivers The main idea of implementing this decision is children’s safety and well-being.”
The transport officers requested the principals to sign a contract with bus drivers to ensure children’s safety. The RTO urged the schools to convey the students’ problems to the RTO on a regular basis, to keep a check on drivers, ensure the validity of their licences, insurances, and the conditions of the buses.
If the schools discovered any violation of these norms, or if they found that parents were sending their children to school in unauthorised vehicles, the schools were asked to report such incidents to the nearest police station, the RTO or the traffic department.
“The RTO plans to conduct a meeting of such unauthorised vehicle owners as well as parents and will guide them to take steps in regularising these vehicles,” said Raut, while appealing to parents to send their children only in school buses and not in private vans or buses.
“Staff from some schools seemed a little reluctant to engage in these activities for fear of getting involved in problems with drivers,” Raut added. The transport regulator seeks active participation of school principals and staffers to keep in touch with parents, students as well as drivers to maintain a healthy and safe environment for children while travelling in school buses.