School vehicle drivers withdraw strike

School vehicle drivers withdraw strike

Sunil Kumar Bajal, Dakshina Kannada District Schoolchildren Vehicle Drivers’ Association honorary president, speaks to reporters in Mangaluru on Friday.

Members of the Dakshina Kannada District Schoolchildren Vehicle Drivers’ Association have withdrawn their indefinite strike, as MLA D Vedavyasa Kamath has promised to meet the police commissioner at the earliest.

Sunil Kumar Bajal, honorary president of the association, told reporters on Friday that vehicles ferrying schoolchildren will function from Saturday.

He claimed that police were booking cases even when children ferried were within the permitted numbers. “Even vehicles ferrying two children are booked with cases of permit violation. The police are being harsh on the drivers and also abuse them,” he alleged.

“There are instances of police booking two cases in a span of an hour on the vehicles ferrying schoolchildren. We also ensure safety of the children. There are instances of children of labourers from Vijayapura being asked to pay Rs 100 to ensure that they do not drop out from schools. We have not denied transport to any child for failing to pay the monthly fee,” Bajal added.

The strike by the association had caused inconvenience to the parents and guardians, he said and added that they had pressurised the MLA to intervene the solve the issue.

General secretary Kiran said, “We have been working from 6.30 am to 5 pm and have been eking out a living by ferrying these schoolchildren. If we limit the number of students to eight in an Omni, as directed by the court, we are compelled to hike the fees, which, in turn, will inconvenience parents. Majority of the parents are from middle class.”

He said, “We are not flouting the court order. Even after paying penalty to the court, our permits are not returned to us. If police suspend licence twice, then we will lose our livelihood forever.”

Mangaluru Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil convened a meeting of the association members on Friday. After the members had aired their grievances, the commissioner had promised to redress their grievances.