Autos will now come under the ambit of the school transportation norms as per a government resolution issued on May 4. The draft amendments,to be known as the Maharashtra Motor Vehicles (Regulation for School Buses),(First Amendment) Rules 2012 specifically mention that three-wheeler autorickshaws will also have to comply with school bus regulations. Various changes to the rules have been introduced keeping in mind the demands put forward by autorickshaw unions.
An estimated 15,000 autos ferry students in the city. Changes in the rules for autorickshaws,such as allowing the driver to act as the attendant for vehicles with less than 12 seats,or one fire extinguisher of 2 kg or no separate emergency door for vehicles with less than 20 seats are likely to draw support of autorickshaw unions. The changes in the draft will be taken up for consideration by the state government on or after May 22. Suggestions and objections have been invited till then.
Regional transport officer (Pune),Arun Yeola,said,This is the draft amendment. Were waiting for the final changes to be communicated to us.
Nitin Pawar,convenor,Rickshaw Panchayat,Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad,said,While we agree to changes like allowing driver to act as attendant instead of a female attendant or fire extinguisher norms,some important points have been left out. We have demanded and demonstrated to the government that 10 kids of primary school can comfortably travel in the auto. Instead of fining and harassing drivers on grounds of overloading,why cant the maximum number of passengers for school rickshaws be fixed at 10?
However,activist Prashant Inamdar from Pedestrain First said though its a welcome step,a separate set of rules is required to regulate autorickshaws.