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School buses in Gurugram must adhere to safety norms, says DC Yadav

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Gurugram deputy commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav on Wednesday said many schools in the city are being negligent when it comes to transportation of their students and bus drivers are openly flouting safety norms even after repeated instructions by the district administration.

Administration officials will be given the mandate to inspect school buses every month. (HT Photo)
Administration officials will be given the mandate to inspect school buses every month. (HT Photo)

Yadav said administration officials will be given the mandate to inspect school buses every month for the effective implementation of safety rules. “Get rid of all shortcomings within a fortnight or we will later take stringent action,” he said.

The deputy commissioner was addressing directors, principals and transport in-charges of at least 200 schools across the city who had gathered at a programme organised by the Gurugram regional transport office (RTO) in Udyog Vihar where Gurugram sub-divisional magistrate Ravinder Yadav, district transport officer cum RTA secretary Jitender Ahlawat and transport inspector Mukesh Shehrawat were also present.

The programme sensitised the participants about Haryana government’s Surakshit School Vahan policy for safe transportation and made them aware of the common violations that can jeopardise the safety of students.

“Even after repeated inspections, there is negligence on the part of the school authorities. Many bus drivers do not adhere to the norms prescribed by the Surakshit School Vahan policy. All schools need to follow the guidelines for the safety and security of students,” Yadav said, adding that parents are very sensitive in Gurugram and they immediately flag issues to the district administration through social media.

Yadav said such violations may lead to untoward incidents and the in-charges of the concerned schools and their transport department will be held responsible. “In such a scenario, we will ensure that all school in-charges face criminal liability,” he added.

Girish Gupta and Keshika (goes by a single name), two road safety associates who regularly accompany the inspection teams and were present in the meeting, said improper colour code and documentation, absence of grills and reflective tapes, tinted windows, malfunctioning and unsafe emergency doors with improper locking system, improper CCTV installation with wires and recordings accessible to drivers and conductors, expired medicines, drivers hired without background verification, etc. were a few of the shortcomings that need to be addressed on an urgent basis.

“After the Covid-19 pandemic, the availability of drivers became less. There was an instance where a driver was hired by a city school though background verification found a criminal case against him,” Gupta said.

Both the road safety associates gave more than an hour-long training to the school authorities, enlightening them about the rules and their proper enforcement.

Gupta said many schools were hiring buses on a contract after the imposition of the 10-year-old petrol and 15-year-old diesel vehicle ban rule. “Thus, the safety rules are getting flouted on a large scale. Buses with improper documents are being used. Earlier, almost all schools had their own fleet of buses,” he added.

RTO officials said sub-divisional officers presently have a mandate to inspect the bus fleet of at least five schools every month. They said 23 schools were served notices and challans were issued against 36 buses for flouting safety norms since January this year.

Dharmendra Kumar, transport in-charge of a private school, said they have a fleet of 34 buses for ferrying students. “We have been maintaining all the safety norms,” he said.

Kumar said several schools are found flouting norms either due to mismanagement or negligence.

Loveleen Gupta, mother of a Class 6 student studying in a private school in Sector 62 said, “The safety of students is a major concern in a city like Gurugram where in most cases both parents are working”.

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