Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Ravindra Dhangekar on Monday visited the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) and demanded that strict action be taken against around 1,500 school buses and school vans ferrying students without undergoing a fitness test.
“There are a total of 6,600 school buses and school vans in Pune city. According to the Pune RTO official statistics, 1,500 school buses and school vans are transporting students without a fitness test. This is like playing with the students’ lives,” Dhangekar said during his visit to the Pune RTO. Congress city senior leader Mohan Joshi was also present along with Dhangekar.
In a letter submitted to the Pune RTO in this regard, Dhangekar said that it is critical that school buses and school vans follow norms strictly for the safe transportation of students. “In the last few years, school buses and school vans which have not been checked for fitness have caught fire. Due to this, immediate action is expected to be taken against such school buses and school vans so that the lives of students are not endangered and untoward incidents do not occur,” Dhangekar said.
Joshi said, “As mentioned in the regulations, it is mandatory for school buses and school vans to install a panic button and speed governor in their vehicles. It is also mandatory and necessary to have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit and an attendant in the vehicle used for transporting the students.”
The Covid-19 pandemic brought the operations of school buses and school vans to a halt and decimated their owners’ incomes. Dhangekar also demanded that the lifespan of school buses be increased to 20 years from the existing 15 years.
Meanwhile, in a drive to check vehicles ferrying students, the Pune RTO in the past couple of days has inspected
over 250 such vehicles. “We have deployed four squads for this drive and 70 school vehicles which did not have fitness certificates are being issued memos by our inspectors,” said Ajit Shinde, Pune regional transport officer.