Kids' school journey in city remains as perilous as ever

Kids' school journey in city remains as perilous as ever

Schools drag feet on forming cab safety panels; parents anxious

Kids' school journey in city remains as perilous as ever

Children’s journey to school and back in Bengaluru remains as unsafe as before, with few institutions setting up cab safety committees, which are mandated by a rule framed by the state government in 2013.

In a notification issued in January that year, the government mandated the formation of a committee for the safety of children in every school. The committee should have representatives from the school management, parents and a local Regional Transport Officer (RTO). However, when Deccan Herald interacted with schools and parents across Bengaluru, most of them were not even aware that such a committee needs to be formed.

“I see these private vans. They are packed with children. Most of them are speeding. Some vehicles are so crowded that children have their heads popping out and there is nobody to keep a watch,” said Kumaran S, whose six-year-old daughter studies at a private school in Rajajinagar. “Having seen all this, I choose to drive my daughter to school. My wife picks her up in the afternoon.”

He is among many parents who are concerned about their children’s safety en route the school. Ruing the lack of safety measures in schools, Purushottam, parent of a five-year-old who slipped into coma after injuring his finger, said he was not aware of the existence of such a safety committee in the institution either.

However, D Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said the rules were applicable only to schools which had management-run cabs.

“If the service provider is not the school but a private player, the school will have no say in it. It is a mutual understanding between the private service provider and the parents,” he said. Narendra Holkar, Joint Commissioner of Transport (Bengaluru Urban and Rural), said schools were not coming forward to take the initiative. “The Transport Department has issued guidelines. But schools are not coming forward to implement them, especially the formation of school cab safety committee.”