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Schools turn streets into garages

Oct. 20: Schools are turning city streets into parking lots for their buses, turning a blind eye towards the inconvenience faced by commuters as well as the underlying security threat.

In a meeting held recently, Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri had instructed the district transport officers to conduct a survey of schools that parked their buses on the roadside.

But no action has been forthcoming from the district transport officials so far, allowing city schools to continue parking their buses unhindered.

On being informed about the scenario by The Telegraph, Agnihotri said, “I will take a detailed report about this matter from the district transport officials. We had a meeting recently where the matter was discussed and the inconvenience faced by people because of such parking taken into account.”

“Schools should park their buses on their respective campuses and those schools which do not have adequate space for parking should use private parking places,” the deputy commissioner added.

Lack of co-ordination among the officials of the state transport department has made it easier for schools to flout the norms at will.

District transport officer (regional transport authority) K. Hazarika said the issue was taken up during the meeting but as the minutes of the meeting were yet to be prepared, it was difficult to take action.

District transport officer (enforcement) J.C. Handique said he was yet to be briefed about the meeting’s proceedings.

The school authorities, on the other hand, maintained that they were forced to park their buses on the roadside, as no parking lots were provided for heavy vehicles. “I agree that we are defaulters. We have around 27 buses and we park 21 of these in our school campus. The rest are parked on the roadside. As the government has not specified any parking lot for school buses, we are left with no other option,” Pradip Bhuyan, managing trustee of Faculty Higher Secondary School, said.

The buses of Faculty HS School parked on Mother Teresa Road (in UB Photos/Telegraph picture) cause severe traffic snarls. “These buses block almost half the road. The situation is worse during holidays, as these giants stay there the whole day,” Kushal Baruah, a resident of Geetanagar, said.

With the crime graph shooting up, these unguarded buses can also be an easy hideout for criminals. “These buses remain on the roadside without any security guards. The doors can be easily opened and even if the driver or a conductor stays inside the bus, they are not equipped to fight criminals if one decides to barge into the bus seeking cover after committing a crime. Besides, bombs, too, can be easily planted on these buses, putting the lives of schoolchildren at risk,” Pranami Das, a Panbazar resident and a homemaker, said.

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