|NMMT-run school bus service faces axe
Following a spate of accidents of private school buses, the transport committee of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) had passed a resolution for extending its bus service for ferrying students. The resolution was allowed by general body and standing committee of NMMC. Parents whole-heartedly welcomed the move as they did not want to risk the lives of their children. Morever, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) bus service cost works out to be cheaper than private transport.
NMMT general manager Jitendra Papalkar informed that four buses have been dedicated for the purpose of school bus service. Two of them cater to NMMC-run school for physically and mentally challenged children in Rabale. Students from all over Navi Mumbai come here. The other two run from Konkan Railway Society in Seawood and Kharghar to Panvel-based ONGC School. More than 200 students are being benefited.
As per law a school bus must be of yellow colour, have a display board saying ‘School Bus’, a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher and most importantly a huge door at rear side for emergency exit.
No doubt, the NMMT buses have display boards but lack first aid boxes and fire extinguishers. The provision of a large rear door is also lacking. Just three weeks back an NMMT-run school bus met with an accident and this prompted RTO to question the service. Navi Mumbai Dy RTO ordered NMMT to stop the service until all norms were complied with. Hence the service will be withdrawn from August 1. An observer says, “Recently NMMT has bought many new buses which have first-aid kit as well as fire extinguishers and large rear doors. These buses can be deployed for school ferry service. But none of the transport committee members or administrative officers has thought of it”.
“Instead, the buses deployed for school duty are those which are going to be declared as scrap within a couple of years. Such an act of NMMT has really hurt hundreds of parents,” he adds.
—Jaspal Singh Naol