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School transport a cause of worry for parents in Gurugram

Gurugram: Questions over safety of students travelling in school buses were raised again in Gurugram, after a school bus collided with an SUV on February 24, claiming the life of a 60-year-old travelling in the car and injuring several school students in the bus.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the bus did not have speed governor. Taking cognisance of the case, the child welfare committee has asked the Deputy Commissioner to ensure that proper safety guidelines are met while transporting students to and from school.
In spite of periodic checks by the district authorities, most school buses – in order to cut costs – compromise on the safety guidelines, thus putting the safety of students in peril.
According to transport coordinators working in schools, a 37-seat school bus costs around Rs 16 lakh, with the cost only going higher with further with precautions.
In the past, campaigns have been launched by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to promote safe transportation of students. But they seem to have lost steam, as students are still ferried in a risky manner.
Key parameters of the RTA directives were identification of the school transport vehicle through yellow and blue paint, installation of speed governors and CCTV cameras, and not filling the vehicle with students beyond capacity.
Authorities have often fined schools for flouting these rules, but parents' grievances of unsafe buses still pour in. With most private schools charging exorbitant sums for school transportation, most parents are forced to turn to private transport vehicles, like cabs and auto.
"I was forced to have my child travel in a private vehicle in Vasant Kunj because they were providing safe and effective school transport facility for my child. Even though long transportation time is a matter of inconvenience, it is also important for his safety, "said Anju Sachdeva, a city resident
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