The Transport department has decided to launch a special drive against illegal vehicles which ferry schoolchildren without following safety measures. This follows an outcry by parents after the recent accident in Udupi, involving a schoolbus.
The enforcement wing of the department had already slapped notices on a few schools in the city, asking them to adhere to safety rules. According to officials, the common violation is overloading or ferrying beyond permissible capacity. For instance, only six children can travel in an autorickshaw.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Narendra Holkar, Joint Commissioner of Transport (Bengaluru Urban and Rural), said illegal vehicles transporting children without safety measures were seized recently. The official said notices are being issued to schools, giving them time to adopt safety measures in the vehicles.
Holkar said that a team comprising officials from various regional transport offices (RTOs) will launch a massive crackdown against illegal vehicles soon. Vehicles transporting children without necessary approval by the schoolcab safety committee are illegal.
In 2013, the department had issued a notification regarding measures to be taken for safety of children. Each school should form a committee comprising parents, management, RTO representatives among others. Private cabbies should get the approval of the school committee to transport children.
According to a top official with the Transport department, it is a common practice among drivers of illegal vehicles to abandon schoolchildren on the road when they notice RTO officials checking vehicles. Officials fear that this puts the children at risk. This time, officials have made alternative arrangements to ferry abandoned children to school or home during the drive.
What the rules say...
* A schoolcab should not exceed 12+1 seating capacity
* An attendant should be present in the vehicle
* Each school should form a schoolcab safety committee
* If the age of children is below 12 years, the carrying capacity should not exceed one-and-a-half times the permitted capacity
* Sufficient space should be provided to keep schoolbags
* No seating arrangement over LPG tank in the vehicle; no tainted glass permitted