Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who will ensure their safety?

LUDHIANA: Feb 22, 2011,

Despite charging exorbitant fees from students in the name of better infrastructure and facilities, many schools have hardly taken any steps to ensure their safety on way home and back.

Children packed in like sardines in autorickshaws, school buses and rickshaws, with some hanging out, is a common sight on the city roads. Sometimes, there are 10 to 12 children in an auto. But, the authorities continue to turn a blind eye to this violation. As many schools here do not have their own bus service for ferrying schoolchildren, these have tied up with private bus operators, who not only charge fee as per their wishes, but also allow overloading.

Sunita Khanna, a Model Town resident, said, \'\'As everyone in my family is working, we cannot spare time to drop our child to school. So, we have hired an auto for him, but the three-wheeler is always overloaded.\'\' Harjinder Sharma of Sarabha Nagar said, \'\'My child usually gets seat in the school bus because it comes early at our place, but there are many who have to travel standing.\'\' Pakhowal resident Amarpreet Kaur said, \'\'Schools are aware of the problem, but it seems they prefer to ignore it.\'\'

A private school principal said they were responsible for their school and parents should check their kids\' transportation. Records available with the district transport department showed that there were about 1,000 school buses registered with it and 860 LPG and 14,482 diesel autos. In 2010, traffic police challaned 16,112 auto drivers for various offence. There is, however, no data available with the traffic police department regarding the number of vehicles impounded for repeated violations.

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