Published On : Sat, Jul 6th, 2024

Kids at risk: RTO audit reveals 492 school buses lack fitness certificates in Nagpur

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Nagpur: An alarming situation has emerged in Nagpur where 492 school buses are operating without the mandatory fitness certificates, posing significant risks to the safety of children. This issue was highlighted in an audit of school bus fitness certificates conducted across 56 Regional Transport Offices (RTO) and deputy offices in the State, a report in a local English daily said.

Nagpur district, which has three RTO offices — City, East Nagpur, and Rural — has registered 3,993 school buses. As a preventive measure, all three offices have issued suspension notices to the owners of 281 buses.

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Data obtained by the daily from the Maharashtra Transport Commissioner’s office shows that over 24% school buses are operating without valid fitness certificates in the State. Of the 42,291 school buses registered with the State Transport Department, 75.86% (31,834 buses) have annual fitness certificates while the same of 10,216 buses have expired.

According to the report quoting the Transport Commissioner, the department has already begun the process to suspend permits of 4,998 school buses across the State. All RTO have been instructed to seize school buses operating without mandatory fitness certificates, said the officer, adding that any negligence regarding students’ safety will not be tolerated.

Data reveals that only 14 out of 56 Transport Department offices have issued notices to suspend permits of 4,998 buses. At 6,366, Pune RTO has the highest number of school buses registered, of which 4,861 have valid fitness certificates, while 1,507 are operating without them. Consequently, the office has served notices for permit suspension to 852 owners.

The neighbouring Pimpri Chinchwad RTO has the second-highest number of registered school buses, with 2,951 buses. Out of these, only 1,926 have obtained fitness certificates, prompting the Transport Department to begin suspending the permits of 1,025 buses.

Approximately 26.24% of buses registered with Mumbai (Central), Mumbai (West), Mumbai (East), Thane, and Kalyan are without fitness certificates. Records indicate that 4,861 school buses were registered with these RTOs. Of these, only 3,585 buses have valid fitness certificates, while 1,276 are operating without them.

A state-wide drive will be initiated against school buses operating without fitness certificates, the officer said. In Nagpur, a special checking drive of vehicles, particularly those ferrying schoolchildren, has been launched. Records of buses without fitness certificates have been shared with two flying squads to ensure these buses do not ferry schoolchildren, a City RTO official said.

This report highlights the urgent need for compliance and strict enforcement to ensure the safety of school children across the State.