1,120 unfit school buses
Private educational institutions, which are more interested and inclined in collecting humongous fees and donations, are paying a lip service to school buses.
These buses do not have fitness certificates from the RTA
- Educational institutions care a hoot for rules
- Transport authorities react only after a tragedy
- Small schools generally ply old buses which have outlived their life
- They also appoint inexperienced drivers at low salary
Private educational institutions, which are more interested and inclined in collecting humongous fees and donations, are paying a lip service to school buses. In the wake of the accident at Toopran, parents now fear for the safety of their children, who commute in school buses.
According to the Road Transport Authority (RTA), every school bus has to be checked for fitness every year, apparently not many school managements are doing this. Fitness certificate is mandatory for the school buses to ferry-out children but statistics with the transport authorities state that 1120 school buses are running without fitness certificate in the city.
There are about 7,800 school buses that run in the city. These buses have to be certified by the RTA, which would issue fitness certificate in the month of May, making them eligible to ferry children. The RTA issues fitness certificate for a period of one year and the last date for the school buses expires on May 15. However, 720 buses registered in Ranga Reddy district and 400 registered in the city are running without fitness certificates. It has been more than two months since the deadline has passed.
A few are even blaming the RTA officials for being callous during inspections. It was alarming to find that the number of buses without safety certificates is increasing every year.
In the wake of the accident, the RTA is now on a seizure mode, “We have got orders from the top brass to seize the vehicles (school buses) that are running without fitness certificates. We have already deployed teams which would be checking the condition of the buses, and other required documentation,” informed an official from the RTA.
RTA officials are also blaming the school managements. They say that managements aren’t taking fitness certificate even after seizing vehicles.
The scenario was different when compared to international or bigger schools. It was noted that only International Schools could afford safer buses manufactured by makers like Volvo and Isuzu, while smaller schools like the one involved in the accident were mini buses by Eicher or Swaraj Mazda. In most cases smaller schools purchase vehicles which have outlived their life for meagre prices from unauthorised dealers.
They also do not have trained drivers to ferry children. These drivers are often over-worked or juggle with other work during day. Apart from these, most of these inexperienced drivers are oblivious to safety measures of the vehicle they drive.