Cops bat for kids' safety

Safe to school

Cops bat for kids' safety

The errant vehicles included autorickshaws, vans and maxicabs, each carrying many more children than permissible. While autorickshaws may carry not more than six children, vans are allowed up to 10 and maxicabs between 14 and 16 children.

The swift action across the City netted police Rs 40,400 in fines. A fine of Rs 100 was slapped on the spot on first-time offenders booked under Section 177 of the Indian Motor Vehicle Act,1988. The police also verified the driving licences and vehicle documents. The drive will continue, said a senior police officer. The licences of habitual offenders will be impounded.

The inspecting personnel were instructed to transfer the children to an alternative vehicle before seizing the errant vehicles.

The move came in the wake of the Transport department noting that overloading was posing a grave risk to the safety of young school-going children and it decided to crack the whip on the erring drivers.

Past experience, however, has shown that such campaigns lasted barely a couple of days and were forgotten thereafter.

Azmath (name changed), an autorickshaw driver who ferries children to various schools, said: “They did this even last year. But after two-three days, it was business as usual. It is our means of livelihood, after all.”

Auto Rickshaw Drivers’ Union vice-president Srinivas Murthy remarked bitterly that bureaucrats would not be able to implement anything under the present government. “I have had personal experience of the corrupt system,” he explained.

As if endorsing this impressio,n, the modus operandi adopted by the traffic police made the whole drive look like just an exercise to “make a quick collection”. The cases are booked under Section 177 of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, while the actual offence falls under another section that deals with violation of permit conditions for which the fine is around Rs 2,400. A police officer explained: “We also have to consider the livelihood of the drivers, they do not make too much money, after all.”

Asked about the concessional fine, Transport Commissioner Sham Bhat said: “The observation that overloading is occurring was not made by my office. I will check and come back to you.”

The police say it was difficult to track down every overloaded vehicle, and advise parents to be vigilant while choosing transport for their children.

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