Buses may be operated only from July onwards
A section of the schools find four of the 24 conditions laid down by the Transport Department regarding fitness certificate for educational institution buses to be “tough and unrealistic”. Schools now seek extra time for complying with these four conditions (see graphics) and are planning to operate their school bus services fully only from July onwards.
Taking into account the safety of the school children, Transport Department “based on the guidelines of the Madras High Court” laid down 24 conditions to be complied with for providing fitness certificate to the vehicles. While the schools find compliance to 20 conditions easy, they contest four conditions to be unrealistic and tough.
Talking to The Hindu on conditions of anonymity, a section of school correspondents and principals said that the schools are not asking for relaxation of conditions compromising on the safety of the children but instead wanted the conditions to be realistic and easy to comply with.
Schools give justifying reasons for contesting those conditions while the Transport Department is countering their conditions.
Deputy Transport Commissioner, Coimbatore Circle, P. Muruganandam said that conditions were framed based on the court directive and there are any number of schools that have complied with and more than 20 to 25 school buses are coming to the Regional Transport Offices for fitness certificates. Schools should have utilised the summer holidays for doing the fabrication works for complying with the norms.
Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association president R. Visalakshi has also termed as “unpractical” several of the conditions imposed on schools for operating vehicles to transport the students. Some of the provisions were themselves likely to pose danger to the children.
One such clause, she said, was the size of the emergency exits located at the rear of the vehicle mandated by the government.
“The size stipulated was so large that if the vehicle came to a sudden halt or collide with another vehicle, the impact would result in at least 10 students being thrown out through the emergency exit.”
Further, she said that another clause which mandated that the school must hold monthly meetings of a committee comprising several members, including the local Inspector of Police was also not feasible.
How would a police officer, who would have several issues to tackle, find the time to attend a school meeting every month, she questioned. Ms. Visalakshi added that many of the new norms have been challenged in the courts.
Even as the schools are battling it out with the Transport Department and through the court, the decision to delay the operation of buses by some schools has left the parents in the lurch. They have to look for alternative arrangements for sending the children to the schools from June 10 till the school buses come to the road.