After the death of six-year-old Shruthi Sethumadhavan, who fell through a hole in a school bus last week, the State Transport Department has so far temporarily suspended the fitness certificates of 164 school and college buses which were found having minor defects. It will also be holding a meeting with school authorities on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, the Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP) will be holding a meeting with transport officials on Wednesday on the feasibility of cancelling the licences of autorickshaws that carry more than the permitted number of children.
According to transport department officials, there are 5,132 school and college buses plying in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts. “Of these, we inspected a total of 4,710 buses and found that 164 of them had very minor problems. We have asked them to rectify the faults,” said an official.
The transport department officials claim that they will be enhancing their monitoring of the condition of buses. “The concerned institutions will fix the faults and then bring them back for inspection. Then, we will provide the fitness certificate,” said another official. The crackdown is expected to be completed after all the vehicles are inspected.
Senior traffic police officers said that that they were also planning to cancel the licences of autorickshaws that flout Motor Vehicles Act rules pertaining to carrying school children. Over 385 autorickshaws have been nabbed for overloading school children in their vehicles. “The crackdown will only intensify in the coming days,” said a senior police officer. Meanwhile, parents stressed the need for cracking down on school vans and buses operated by third parties.
K.R.Nandakumar, secretary of Tamil Nadu nursery, primary, matriculation and higher secondary schools association said that the State transport commissioner has called for a meeting with school authorities on Friday. “They will be discussing the new norms with regard to school vehicles including the experience of bus driver conductor and first aid,” he said.