2 weeks after reopening, students still don't have passes

The delay in issuing of free bus passes has been causing an additional financial burden to parents from economically disadvantaged sections as they have to spend a considerable amount of money to send their children to schools in the deluxe and express buses of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC).

Government schools re-opened for the new academic session on June 1. Unlike last year, when most schools were able to get the list of students eligible for bus passes and hand them over after processing them and preparing an identity card in the first week of June itself, this year has seen a delay. Meanwhile, there has also been a substantial increase in the fares.

In East Tambaram for instance, where the government and aided schools, owing to the variety of courses offered in both and English and Tamil mediums, attract students from places as far as Singaperumal Koil, Manimangalam, Mannivakkam, Guindy and Saidapet, the students usually receive their bus passes within a fortnight after the schools reopen. Due to unknown reasons, this has been delayed.

“The free bus passes will be in our hands usually by this time every year. I have to spend Rs. 13 per trip to come to my school in East Tambaram from my home in Guduvanchery,” said R. Vasanth, a Class VIII student.

Officials at the Directorate of Public Education said the paperwork had already been forwarded to the State Transport Departments. A senior officer at MTC said the process was time-consuming but assured that students would not have to suffer any longer.

Headmasters of government and aided schools and parents of the schools' students have also voiced their concern over the protracted delay. “We got the list from the Tambaram Depot of MTC in the first week of June last year. This year, we have been asked to come to the depot only after they inform us,” the Headmistress of a government aided high school said. A. Suresh, a daily wage earner, whose daughters study in government schools, said he spent nearly Rs. 50 a day in sending them to their school in Tambaram from his home in Perumbakkam.

The State government should expedite the process of issuing the passes, parents said.

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