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18 schoolchildren found bundled into an autorickshaw

Updated on: 29 June,2011 06:27 AM IST  | 
Parth Satam |

During drive to ensure safety of school vehicles, transport authority also surprised by a case of tempo truck being used to ferry schoolkids

18 schoolchildren found bundled into an autorickshaw

During drive to ensure safety of school vehicles, transport authority also surprised by a case of tempo truck being used to ferry schoolkids

How do you accommodate 18 children in a vehicle meant to seat three? The resourceful auto rickshaw drivers on your street may just have the solution. This is what the Regional Transport Office (RTO) found out, when they intercepted an auto rickshaw packed with 18 kindergartners on their way to school.u00a0Authorities said it was the highest number recorded for overcrowding until then. The transport authority also found a tempo truck, meant to transport heavy goods, ferrying 13 children to school.


Five's the upper limit: The RTO permits only five schoolchildren in
an autorickshaw. Representation Pic


Regular checks
Even as the state issued a government resolution (GR) stipulating safety norms for transporting schoolchildren, the RTO has been inspecting school buses and auto rickshaws ferrying students. It was during one such checks conducted by RTO Inspector Sonali Potdar on June 22 that an auto rickshaw (MH-12-FC-1952) was pulled up on Dr Ambedkar road in Somwar Peth for squeezing in 18 schoolchildren. The students were from the Shri Shivaji Preparatory Military School, said Potdar. The RTO confiscated the documents of the auto and sent a memo to the owner. The owner is yet to pay the fine to the RTO.

A minibus (MH-12-FC-1952) with 28 children studying in standards II to VII was caught the same day on Solapur Road travelling towards Hadapsar. The 407 tempo was caught with 13 children at Perne Phata near Wagholi. The students belonged to PJS school in Wagholi and were studying in standard 1X and X. The RTO said the tempo operator was charging Rs 5 per student as transport fare. Sanjay Dhaygude, deputy regional transport officer, said that such drives would continue. "We will also conduct checks on buses which violate safety norms like not carrying a fire extinguisher or a first-aid kit," he said.

Potdar said errant vehicles would not be impounded, as it would hamper the transport of schoolchildren. "We issue a memo and confiscate some documents and ask the operator to come to the RTO and pay the fine," she said. Nana Khirsagar of the Maharashtra Rickshaw Sena said auto drivers overcrowded their vehicles to make the commute cost-effective. "They can not afford to ferry just four or five children. I object to overcrowding, but one also needs to understand the auto drivers' side of the story. Mishaps can even occur in vehicles which follow all rules," he said.




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