The demands of school bus owners were accepted by state joint transport commissioner S B Sahasrabuddhe and principal secretary Anil Sharma yesterday. The development came after over two hours of discussions with the members of the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) and officials from the state transport department at Mantrayala in Mumbai.
Ready to roll: School bus owners say they are satisfied with the
outcome of the meeting with state transport department officials.
The meeting was held to resolve the issues that had cropped up after the state government issued a resolution pertaining to school buses recently. Upset with the government resolution (GR), the drivers had threatened go on an indefinite strike next week.
According to them, it had been made mandatory to have a male and a female attendant on all buses and, also, if the buses ran late, they were to be charged up to Rs 1,000. The GR also stated that support poles in buses, eight-inch ground clearance for the first step at the entry door and five-inch grill or bar on the windows were a must for the safety of the students. The GR also wanted to discard all buses which had been in use for more than 15 years.
"Everybody was satisfied with the outcome. We ourselves want safety of children but certain rules and regulations were not acceptable. The commissioner has promised us that he will consider our demands and will put it in front of NGOs and Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs). The committee admitted that the demands were justified and whatever the bus drivers have been asking should be considered," said Anil Garg of the SBOA.
The decision on buses which are older than 15 years is still pending as the matter is sub judice. "The Nagpur court has ruled in our favour and said that there was no problem with the use of buses which are being used for more than 15 years, but they are not agreeing to it," said Garg.
The bone of contention
THE transport department along with the education department had issued a set of safety guidelines on December 15, 2011, for all school buses, which the school bus owners said had been framed without consulting them.