School buses across the State may not play on November 19. A decision to this effect was taken by The Tamil Nadu nursery, primary, matriculation, higher secondary school association joint action committee.
This is to protest against some norms prescribed in the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles (Regulation and Control of School Buses) Special Rules 2012.
K.R. Nandakumar, secretary of Tamil Nadu nursery, primary, matriculation and higher secondary schools association said that there are 20,000 school buses in the State and some of the rules cannot be implemented.
For instance, the rule says that the dimensions of the emergency exit should be 5 feet x4 feet and it should be on the driver’s side.
“The size stipulated is large especially when you consider the age of children. The government also wants us to have grill gates. In case of an accident, the children cannot escape by themselves. No one from outside can help them either,” he said.
He said that it was difficult to get licensed conductors. “There is no need to issue tickets in the buses so no conductors are required. But we have appointed assistants to ensure safety,” he said. “The rules also say the step at the entry should be at a height of one foot from the ground. If so, the vehicle will be damaged when it hits speed breakers,” he added.
The committee is also against a special enclosure for the driver. The committee members feel that if something untoward happens, the driver cannot come out immediately and help the child.
“It is also not possible to conduct fitness certificate tests every three months. That involves a huge amount of money,” said Mr. Nandakumar. He said that if changes are made to the structure of the buses, it would be difficult to get insurance.
“Hence we have decided to organise the strike. But we have asked all the school correspondents to inform the parents so that they can make alternative arrangements,” said Mr. Nandakumar.