G. V. Prasada Sarma

Schools without alternative can hire RTC buses, says official

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Road Transport Authority has begun implementing the ban on plying of 15-year-old transport vehicles in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation area following a Government Order.

The order came into force on November 1 and is aimed at putting an end to the pollution caused by such vehicles. Stage carriages, contract carriages, vehicles of educational institutions and public service vehicles come under the category.

According to Deputy Transport Commissioner S. Venkateswara Rao, the number of such vehicles in the urban area is estimated at 200. The proposal to ban the old vehicles had been in the air for some time.

Hence schools were informed of the impending decision about one and a half months ago since it involved making alternative arrangements without putting children to trouble, he said.

Several public sector units and companies had replaced their vehicles. Even the RTC has shifted operations of its buses. Schools and other educational institutions are plying between 60 and 70 vehicles. Some of them have made arrangements to overcome the problem caused by the ban. About 15 institutions are reportedly facing problems owing to the ban. For instance, a well-known school has rescheduled its timings as four of the 11 buses used in two branches had to be withdrawn following the GO.

However, the RTA will strictly implement the ban on the old vehicles, particularly school buses, since transportation of children is involved, says Mr. Venkateswara Rao. He suggests that the institutions without an alternative hire buses from the APSRTC.

12 buses seized

So far 12 buses, including 10 belonging to educational institutions, have been seized for violating the order.

A fine of Rs.2,000 was collected and an affidavit taken that the buses would not ply again within city limits, Motor Vehicle Inspector A.H. Khan said. For second offence, the registration would be cancelled.

Postponement ruled out

Several schools had urged that the implementation be put off till the completion of half-yearly examinations to get replacement for the buses withdrawn. But since the GO had come into force, he ruled out such a possibility. On the other hand, police have come out with a number of restrictions including overloading school buses.

Only 25 per cent more than the capacity of the vehicle is allowed by school buses.

The RTA and the police have booked at least 15 cases against school buses for overloading.

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