Chennai

On the move: road transport to get more child friendly soon

The proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill, that is likely to be taken up in the Parliament soon, gives priority to safety of children on the road and in vehicles.

Some of the salient features of the proposed bill are obeying child zones and speed limits in areas frequented by children, punishment for owner of vehicle if a minor is allowed to drive it, specific punishment for dangerous and drunken driving if a child is aboard, among others.

“The current Motor Vehicles Act has no specific rules on child safety. The new bill, on the other hand, specifies even where children should sit. If this is not followed, hefty fines will be imposed on the adult in charge of the vehicle,” says Praveen Chacko, project co-ordinator–policy and research, Save Life Foundation, the NGO that has contributed to the new bill.

The bill also prescribes child safety equipment that should be fixed in vehicles. “This will also apply to school buses. Besides, children too will have to wear helmets while riding pillion,” he says.

The bill also mentions specific penalty for causing the death of a child. “The bill promotes adult accountability while transporting children. Children below the age of eight will not be permitted in the front seat. If the bill comes into force, children will be safer — both on the road and during travel,” says a regional transport officer.

Shoppers’ delight

People commuting by various suburban train services in the city seldom feel pangs of hunger for they are catered to by numerous hawkers selling a variety of foods onboard.

The suburban trains are also a shoppers’ delight for household items.

Snacks like samosas, butter biscuits and peanuts, apart from fruits and household articles, are the items normally sold by hawkers in a train journey lasting anywhere between 40 minutes and one-and-a-half hours.

In a city with a suburban track network of more than 300 kilometres, including the 19-kilometre MRTS service from Chennai Beach to Velachery, it has become a huge business opportunity for hawkers.

Bhuvaneswari, a visually-challenged woman, sells peanut candy and other small articles on the Chennai Beach-Tambaram route regularly. She earns a few hundreds, selling during peak hours.

The only train network where the hawking business is yet to take off in a big way is the MRTS service. The reason for small-time traders keeping away from this route is the fewer number of services and commuters.

Though railway officials do not want to encourage this kind of business operation, carried out without any permission, they do not want to curb it completely because of the many livelihoods involved.

A senior official of Southern Railway says many of the hawkers are unauthorised and do not even purchase travel tickets.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 10:47:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/on-the-move-road-transport-to-get-more-child-friendly-soon/article6904550.ece

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