Grossly unfair that school bus owners left in the lurch

Updated: 19 November, 2020 07:22 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Schools are reopening only for seniors from Stds IX to XII, and online learning is to continue. Attendance in schools is by parental consent only

School bus owners have been waiting for some govt direction
School bus owners have been waiting for some govt direction

The School Bus Owners Association of Maharashtra is bitter about being overlooked or deliberately ignored even as schools have got the green light to open in a week's time.

The Association said in a front-page report in this paper that there are no directions given to them, and no guidelines have been issued even though they are a vital part of the educational ecosystem.

Schools are reopening only for seniors from Stds IX to XII, and online learning is to continue. Attendance in schools is by parental consent only.

One certainly understands the challenges to schools and the uncertainty faced by parents and students, whose anxiety levels are soaring. There is no excuse though, to not pay school bus owners, operators and contractors who provided the service before lockdown came into effect.

The Association has claimed that payments from at least 80 per cent schools are due. Many have not paid from January to March this year. Several schools tell parents that they need to pay the bus owner directly.

Whatever the arrangement, it is grossly unfair if owners and operators are running around to collect their outstanding dues from parents or schools.

One can imagine just how difficult it would be to pin down parents during a pandemic. It is also good if schools shouldered some of the onus to ensure that school bus owners are paid by parents.

While that may not be their duty per se, they need to have a sense of moral responsibility and a nudge from their conscience.

Everybody is struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, yet those who have rendered services cannot be made to run around and literally beg for their dues.

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First Published: 19 November, 2020 06:18 IST

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