Besides adherence with norms such as acquiring a fitness certificate for vehicles used to transport students to and from schools and colleges, managements of these educational institutions must bring into effect the many other conditions stipulated in the Motor Vehicles – Amendment to Rule 185 of the Andhra Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules, said Deputy Transport Commissioner (DTC), Krishna district, Ch. Sivalingaiah, on Tuesday. He was addressing an awareness programme organised for managements of educational institutions at the Lorry Owners’ Association hall on the list of 32 conditions prescribed in the rule book. Representatives of 200-odd educational institutions attended the session. The DTC said since the driver of the vehicle played a pivotal role in safety of children ferried to and from schools and colleges, the managements should exercise great caution and appoint a responsible individual.

“The driver’s age should not be more than 60 years and a separate health card must be maintained for him. His licence particulars must be verified with the RTA office while hiring his services and a minimum five years of experience in driving similar category of vehicle was a must, he said. The parents committee must be informed of the appointment of the driver and a separate record must be maintained to register the condition of the vehicle. A first aid box with necessary medicines must be kept in the vehicle and the management must provide suitable parking place, preferably on the premises for buses, he said. Every bus must have at least one attendant and he should not be allowed to take the driving seat under any circumstances. Drivers and attendants must be given uniforms and the vehicle must carry complete list of children travelling by that particular bus and the list must include details of children like their names, class, residential address and point of halt. Assistant Commissioner of Police M.V. Ramana said safety of the children was paramount. Besides imparting quality education, educational institutions must feel responsible for their safe transportation as well. Deputy Education Officers of Vijayawada, Nuzvid and Nandigama and a host of others participated.

District Collector S. Suresh Kumar ruled out the possibility of giving exemptions to schools from fire safety rule saying that it is a part of the National Building Code (NBC) that has to be complied with across the country. Similarly, schools have to strictly adhere to the rule that prohibits operation of school buses older than 15 years as it is again a decision taken at the national level.

In both cases, safety of students is more important than the financial implications for school managements which will certainly face difficulties in implementing the rules in the short term but find themselves in a comfortable position in dealing with regulatory issues in the long run. Addressing a meeting of managements of unaided schools here on Tuesday, Mr. Suresh Kumar said grievance of small unaided schools that they have to pay Rs 10,000 for securing yearly renewal of fire safety certificates at par with the corporate institutions have very large campuses will be taken to the notice of higher authorities.

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