TAMIL NADU

Unions agree to carry eight children per auto

SALEM, AUG 1. The stalemate over the issue of carrying school children in city autos was resolved following the drivers' acceptance to the suggestions of the Collector and Police Commissioner.

According to a press release from the District administration, representatives of various unions of city auto drivers agreed to carry maximum of eight children per auto to schools.

They also resolved not to allow the children to sit in side barriers in a way as to jeopardise their safety.

Stick to stipulations

They also decided not to encourage children to sit in the driver's seat.

They assured the Collector and Police Commissioner that they would adhere to the rules and regulations and extend all cooperation to the administration.

They called off their agitation which begun on Saturday evening.

The auto drivers in the city had been refusing to carry the children to schools for three days since Wednesday to protest against District administration's "safety drive'' against those auto drivers who "stuffed" children in their vehicles thus putting the lives of innocent children in danger.

Kumbakonam fallout

Following the Kumbakonam tragedy, the Collector, A. Sukumaran took a series of steps to avoid recurrence of such events in the district.

With the assistance of officials from the Department of Education, he closed unauthorised schools and declared closure of the schools, which had thatched roof.

He also asked the drivers of autos, private vans and share autos not to carry children beyond the permissible limit. Officials of Police and Transport launched a massive drive in the city and warned the auto drivers who ferried more than 12 children in their vehicles.

They also issued stern warning to those who defied the rules.

Irritated city auto drivers refused to carry children to schools. They stopped traffic and tried to gherao Transport officer.

The Police Commissioner, Abashkumar warned them of stern action.

But parents and children had started seeking alternative mode of transport to the schools.

The district administration also operated special buses to schools in the city. When the administration stood its ground they relented.

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