Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Parents vehemently oppose Safe Road to School scheme

Parents to oppose being bulldozed onto safe roads

Deccan Herld

Police are unlikely to be harsh in implementing the new programme. They may first try their persuasive skills on parents.

With 24 hours to go for the implementation of the Safe Roads To School (SRTS) programme, parents of children studying in over 14 schools have joined forces to vehemently oppose schoolchildren being shanghaied into using public transport.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, the parents under the banner of ‘Forum of Concerned Citizens’ lashed out against the traffic and transport authorities for “imposing” the rules on using public transport. Their primary concern: Why should five-to-ten-year-olds pay for the City’s infrastructural breakdown?

“We will approach the highest authorities of civil, political and judicial systems to ensure such an order is withdrawn,” Naveen Rolands, an Indiranagar-based parent, said. He would continue to personally drop his children off at their schools come what may.

“How can I be sure my teenage daughter would not be a victim of inappropriate behaviour if she is the last student to be dropped off? Or that my eight-year-old will get off at the right bus-stop?” asked Femina Premkumar, a Koramangala-based mother.

Unnikrishnan, another member, said the parents were not against the idea of a public transport system, as long as it was punctual, safe and affordable.

Srinath, father of a Baldwin Girls’ School student, said it would be difficult to drop children off at a bus-stop which is a kilometre away or to make children walk that far.

The show will go on

In the face of emotional outbursts from several quarters, the City traffic police seemed to have somewhat relaxed their stand. While the police will go ahead and implement the new rules (‘no parking’ zones and levy of fines), DCP (Traffic East) M A Saleem said that the department was open to the idea of car-pooling.

“We agree with the parents who want to drop off six children in their car, as long as they take the car into school premises and don’t park on the roads. We are open even to review the entire system, but let the system be in place first before we check its efficacy,” said Saleem.

While the rules will come into effect around five schools that have prepared for it, the remaining have sought a few more days to prepare themselves. “We will implement the rules for the schools that are ready. The others will be given a week’s time,” Saleem said.

Penalties, however, will not be levied immediately on erring parents as “we want to educate them first on the validity of the move, rather than just levy fines”, he added.

BMTC claim

BMTC Chief Traffic Manager K S Vishwanath said the Corporation would ensure that lady conductors and drivers with impeccable records are deputed to chartered school buses.

“We are safer than two-wheelers and cars... and certainly over-crowded autos. Schools such as Vidyaniketan which have chartered our buses for the last two years are happy. We are even willing to allow parents to go on the buses initially, in case they want to double-check. Many schools send teachers in the buses to monitor children,” Vishwanath said.


BMTC buses are accident-prone.
Safety cannot be compromised.
Girls may become victims to harassment.
BMTC drivers are rash.
Small kids are prone to danger at bus-stops.
Children likely to forget where to get off.

BMTC has the lowest accident-rate in India.
BMTC has won an international award for optimum public safety.
Lady conductors will be assigned for duty on all BMTC school buses.
Only drivers with impeccable service records will drive school buses.
If parents can pick up children from school, why not from bus-stops? Parents will be allowed on the buses initially, to train kids on where to get on and off.


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