Problem will be solved before examinations: official

The School Education Department has been forced to cut down the number of government-run school and college buses over the past one week. As a result, students who depend on these buses have been affected.

“In many areas where there used to be four buses for students, only one is in service. Similarly, services to Nettapakkam and Abhishekapakkam have been stopped. Now, students who generally travel in four buses are forced to take the one bus that is available.

Packed like sardines

This means they are packed like sardines, which makes girls feel uncomfortable,” secretary of Student Federation of India, Puducherry, Anand said.

In November, there was a similar problem. A group of students the met Education Department officials, and the problem was sorted.

While all students are affected, girls are the worst hit. In many cases, these students are forced to walk a long distance to reach their school or college.

Students studying in Women’s Polytechnic are often dropped at the entrance to Lawspet, which means they have to walk nearly a kilometre crossing a local bar. This makes them feel uncomfortable and embarrassed too, he said.

In addition, students who come from Villianur to Bharathidasan college have been forced to get down near Indira Gandhi statue and find their way from there as the bus driver and conductor refuse to take the prescribed route.

Women also face several other problems related to harassment on the bus itself. If the service is transferred to the Puducherry Road Transport Corporation, the problem would be solved, Anand said.

SFI has submitted a petition to Lieutenant Governor Virendra Kataria and Chief Minister N. Rangasamy asking that the buses be shifted to PRTC and more services added.

When contacted, an Education Department official said that there were initially 19 operators who handled the routes.

But, five of them dropped out recently. Now, instead of 55 buses for Puducherry and 15 for Karaikal, there are 44 buses in Puducherry and 13 in Karaikal.

The department was holding talks with the operators to decide whether the existing operators would be willing to run the additional routes as well.

Talks were in preliminary stage. But, the department would solve the problem before examinations, the official said.

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