From Friday, the State Transport Department and the Chennai Traffic Police will jointly crack down on autorickshaws carrying school children and maxi-cabs that carry more people than permitted.

A team of 40 squads will inspect all autorickshaws between 7.30 a.m. and 11 a.m. and again in the evening during school closing hours. A meeting between Transport Department officials and the traffic police was held in the city on Thursday.

“An autorickshaw can carry a maximum of five children. If they are found carrying more, we will serve notices to them,” said an official from the transport department. “Their permit and licence will also be cancelled,” a police officer said.

The squad will also target maxi-cabs that carry more school children or passengers than permitted. “The seating ratio in big vans is 1.5 persons per seat. So if the seating capacity is 10, they can carry a maximum of 15 persons. Beyond this, it is overloading,” said a senior police officer.

Also, such vehicles will not be allowed to park haphazardly and board passengers. “During the meeting, we also talked about disposal of seized vehicles,” the officer said. Meanwhile, transport secretary T. Prabakhara Rao submitted the new rules for school buses to prinicipal home secretary R. Rajagopal.

On July 25, class-II student Sruthi was run over by her school bus in Mudichur after slipping through a hole in the vehicle’s floor. Following this, the Madras High Court asked the State Government to come up with rules for fixing the criteria and conditions for operating school vehicles.

The High Court Bench said the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Rules had no provision with regard to maintenance, fitness and conditions for plying school buses. A draft rule should be produced before the court in two weeks, it said.

The Court also asked the government to form a special cell under the rule, empowering special officers to issue fitness certificates to school buses and impose other stringent conditions, including penal provisions for violations. “The new rules will be submitted in the High Court soon,” a transport department official said.

More In: Chennai