Even as Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy ruled out a compromise on the demands of the Karnataka United School and Light Motor Vehicle Drivers Union, members of the union have said that school vans would stay off the road until their concerns are addressed.
The strike, which entered the second day on Thursday, caused inconvenience to thousands of parents and students.
Mr. Reddy told presspersons that the State government had issued a notification directing owners of vehicles transporting children to school to adhere to 18 guidelines, one of which is to scrap that are over 15 years old. Mr. Reddy said the public would blame the government if any accidents occurred.
“Our motto is to ensure the safety of schoolchildren. We will not succumb to the demands of the union. We are strictly implementing the Supreme Court order,” the Minister said.
Responding to the Minister’s statement, S. Shanmugam, president of the union said, “The Minister is misguided that the 15-year limit for school vehicles is based on the Supreme Court order. Other States allow vehicles that are over 15 years old to transport schoolchildren if they clear the fitness test.”
Reiterating that school can drivers could not afford to buy vehicles every 15 years, he said that their agitation would continue until the government listened to their demands. “We feel sorry that parents and the children have to pay the price for the government’s adamant behaviour,” he added.