Published On : Mon, Dec 31st, 2018

RTI shocker: Arvind Indo Public School students travelling in “unfit” school buses

Nagpur: A RTI reply concerning Parseoni-based Arvind Indo Public School has revealed stunning fact. The buses and vans of the school have been found unfit for transporting students.

A query posed under Right to Information by Nagrik Hakka Sarnkshan Manch and an office-bearer of Suchana Adhikar Karyakarta Mahasangh Shekhar Kolte to RTO, Nagpur Rural, sought current status of the school buses and vans of Parseoni-based Arvind Indo Public School. The reply by the RTO exposed massive irregularities in the documents of the school buses and Magic vans.

According to the RTI activist, Shekar Kolte, fitness validity of one of the school buses MH-40/N 0343 had already expired five months back. But still the bus is being used for transporting the students. Similarly, more number of students are being accommodated in the school buses and vans having capacity to transport 25 students only including the driver. This could pose threats to lives of the students. Moreover, the permit of the school has not been renewed in the period from 27.04.2104 to 27.10.2016. There is no legal contract also between the school management and owners of buses and vans in accordance to laid down guidelines and norms for transporting the students. It clearly means that the school buses and vans are being used to transport students in violation of rules and regulations, Kolte claimed.

Other irregularities that have come to the fore in the RTI reply include no women conductors in school buses and vans, drivers and conductors without specified uniforms and valid identity cards, no sign board ‘On School Duty’ on buses and vans, absence of speed governance, GPS and CCTV cameras, lack of alarm bell or siren in the event of emergency, no fire extinguishers and first aid boxes, no information regarding fitness certificate and permit documents available in the records of RTO, colour of buses and vans not yellow, no name of school and contact number and other lacunaes.

Kolte further claimed that in another matter, the school Principal did not disclose the report of inspection carried out by Education Officer (Middle School), Zilla Parishad, regarding the serving Magic van of the school. The cover up is aimed at not exposing the irregularities before the parents and concerned officials. The inspection report had said that the school Principal Rajashree Deshmukh herself had informed about availability of only one school bus and one woman conductor for transporting around 450-500 students and had also stated that the facility was adequate. “But I myself had shown video clips and photographs to RTO officials of two buses and 3-4 private white vans transporting the students clandestinely,” Kolte charged.

Concerned over increasing accidents involving the school buses, the Supreme Court had issued guidelines including yellow painted buses; display of ‘On school duty’ on the front and back of the bus; carrying children to the permitted seating capacity of the vehicle if they’re above 12 years old and 1 ½ times more if below 12 years; first aid box; drivers with minimum of five years driving experience, a GPS etc.But SC guidelines continue to be flouted in schools across the nation. Even the school buses run by the schools don’t comply to the guidelines, forget the private operators following them.

The RTI activist personally met Nagpur Rural Regional Transport Officer and Superintendent of Police and submitted a written complaint with all proofs and necessary documents to them. He has demanded detailed probe and filing of criminal offences against the guilty. He has warned the if corrective measures are not initiated immediately, he will file a petition regarding contempt of Supreme Court against the concerned officials as well as the school Principal.