District Administration Must Drop Demand of Yellow Colour Paint for School Vehicles – Sunil Kumar Bajal
Mangaluru: The DK School Children Vehicle Drivers’ Association (SCVDA) staged a protest in front of the DC office here, on June 28.
Prior to the protest, a rally was held from the Mini Vidhana Soudha to the DC office.
Addressing the protesters, social activist and association leader Sunil Kumar Bajal said that after the Trasi accident, the district administration has woken up and started to harass drivers who drop children to school. “Many auto drivers have been penalized for dropping only 3 or 4 children. When asked why they were penalized, the police said that they have pressure from their higher-ups and also warned the drivers not to reveal that they transport only three or four children in their vehicle,” alleged Bajal.
Bajal further said that the incident of Trasi which claimed 8 lives shook the twin districts, but it is not the mistake of the driver alone. “It is the mistake of the parents, the school administration and the district administration. We are against drivers who overcrowd their vehicles with children. At the same time, drivers are not forcing any parents to send their children in their vehicles but parents themselves request the driver to adjust their children in the vehicle.”
Sunil also alleged that the school administration does not allow drivers to drop children inside school grounds. Most of the schools have playgrounds where they should be allowed to drop the children instead of dropping them on the road. “It will easier for the children to go to school, instead of crossing the road and be more safer.”
“On June 27, when there was an interaction at the RTO, the RTO said that the KSRTC bus could provide service to school children, to drop them to the school and bring them back. Is it possible for the government to provide bus facility for all students?” Bajal questioned.
“It is easy to sit inside air conditioned rooms and talk about children’s safety, but the auto and van drivers really take care of the safety of the children. Nowadays both the parents work and they do not have the time to take care of their children. At that time, the drivers take care of the students, and they drop them to the school and bring them back home carefully. The drivers work as “maids” and take care of every child which comes in their vehicles to school.”
The district administration has made yellow colour mandatory for all the vehicles which transport children to school. “We demand the district administration to withdraw this demand. All cases against drivers filed for dropping children to school should also be withdrawn. The limitation for the vehicles should be fixed scientifically (Auto – 10, Omni -16, Eeco – 18 and Maxicab – 35). The respected school should provide parking facilities for the vehicles which transport students. A Children Safety Monitoring committee should be formed in every school and the principal should be the convener. Every month a meeting should be called to discuss the safety of the children with the parents, the school administration and the vehicle drivers,” he added.
President of the DK SCVDA, Uday Shetty said that two years ago, when there was an incident in Bhami School, the association met the district minister in-charge Ramanath Rai to discuss about the problems. Rai had then replied that he could not change traffic rules but on humanitarian grounds, he can allow auto drivers to take a maximum of 6 children in an auto. “The district administration was very strict after the Bhami school incident but within a month everyone forgot the incident. Now recently another incident occurred in Trasi and the district administration has once again come down heavily on drivers and has started to harass them with a number of restrictions. They have forgotten the permission which was given by minister Rai two years ago.”
He further said that drivers could not stop dropping children to school so suddenly. “We need at least one week’s time to find an alternative. We have taken a one year contract to drop the children to school and it is our duty to stick to the contract. There are a number of people who come forward to start a new school and apply for the licence. At that time, why does the administration not demand school buses for transporting students? Let all the schools have their own school buses to transport children so that they can travel safely,” he added.
Later, a memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner by the protesters. Convener of the association M Gangadhar Rai, members Umesh Shetty, Satish Poojary, Kumar Malemar and others were also present.