A 12-year-old student fractured her leg while others students travelling in the auto rickshaw suffered injuries on their eyes, knees and legs as the vehicle, ferrying around 6-7 students met with an accident in Sector 28. The incident comes at a time when auto rickshaws responsible for ferrying school children safely continue to flout the Safe Transportation Policy for Students (STRAPS) laws openly.
As per the law, the autos ferrying school children should have a Global Positioning System (GPS) and a camera installed. Both sides of the vehicle should be fitted with horizontal grills, bars and gates for the safety of the students. However, most of these things are missing in majority of the autos plying in the city. “The traffic police said that it was a lucky escape for my son. As he was sitting in the front seat he could have easily come in between the tree and the auto resulting in his death,” said Rajesh Sharma, the father of the injured boy Kavya Sharma. Rajesh who had changed the transport from a bus to an auto just three days ago said that he will change the transport of Kavya again.
As per the STRAPS law, auto rickshaws are allowed to carry only five school children, if the age group is below 12 years.The above mentioned auto rickshaw had no horizontal grills nor any bars for the safety of the children. “Only issuing of challans to bus operators by the officials will not change the state-of-affairs. A more sever and strict action needs to be taken by the authorities especially when it comes to safety of children traveling in auto rickshaws,” said Nitin Goyal, president Chandigarh Parents Association(CPA).
Speaking on the increasing violations made by the auto rickshaws, Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR) said, “Today we have issued 15 challans to auto rickshaw drivers and impounded two buses. The checking of buses was underway from last year while the drive to rein-in auto rickshaws have just been launched and we will continue with it.”