The state government’s compulsory implementation of the school bus safety policy from February 2013 does not seem to have had the desired effect. The Education Board is yet to make any move towards establishing the School Bus Committee at schools.
School bus associations claim that they are on the losing end, as though schools are not taken any initiative, officials of the Regional Transport Office has begun taking strict action against school bus owners in this regard.
The transport commissioner discussed the issue of school bus safety policy and sent a notification mentioning that all schools conduct workshops, hold meetings and establish committees. All schools are expected to submit a final report regarding individual initiative before February 15.
“The education board is not aware and does not seem serious about implementation of the school bus safety policy. Actually, the state government has given the go ahead for schools to be de-recognised if they do not conform to the norms.
We have informed officials of the education board several times to pressurize schools to establish committees, but no action has been forthcoming till date,” Baba Shinde, former member of RTA and representative of the bus association said.
The RTO is conducting a special drive from today and three squads will be deputed to check whether school buses and vans are following school bus safety norms.
Sanjay Dhaygude, deputy RTO said, “We have submitted strict guidelines to every school. We are going to take action against bus and van owners if found flouting the prescribed guidelines.”
Dhaygude added that the RTO could only take action against erring bus and van owners, but could not take action against the schools. “We have sent a notification regarding establishing a committee in every school. Recently, we met officials of the education board, as they are authorised to take action against the schools,” Dhaygude said.
Shivaji Daundkar, head, PMC Education Board said, “In the next two days, we are going to direct assistant education heads to visit various schools and get an overview. Notifications have already been sent to all schools. After getting reports from the assistant education heads, we will decide on further action. We are certainly going to implement the school bus safety policy strictly.”