School buses caught in traffic, like the one at Kutchery Chowk on Monday, may soon be a thing of the past in Ranchi. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Parents waiting for children to come home from school may breathe a little easy from Tuesday. In the first such initiative of its kind in the capital, traffic department officials on Monday decided to deploy extra personnel near schools and in bottleneck-prone areas to ensure that school buses didn’t get trapped in jams.
Key sites include Indian Oil Corporation depot near Bishop Westcott Girls’ School at Namkum, Kokar Chowk near Surendranath Centenary School, places near St Xavier’s School, Jawahar Vidya Mandir (JVM) Shyamali, Satellite Chowk near Delhi Public School (DPS), Piska More and Itki Road.
This decision was taken by superintendent of police (traffic) Chandrashekhar Prasad when city-based parents’ body Ranchi Abhibhavak Manch urged him to double-check vehicular movement near schools to ease congestion and minimise mishaps.
Representatives of the Manch told the SP that sometimes students, whose classes are over by 1pm or 1.30pm at the most, are seen to reach home hours later due to traffic hold-ups caused by protests or dharnas. “After waiting for hours, the children are hungry, thirsty, irritable and too tired to do their homework when they are back home,” said Ajay Rai, convener of the Manch.
He added that the parents’ outfit decided to meet the SP as they were worried about the ill effects of the capital’s continuous traffic congestion on schoolchildren.
Parents also demanded regular breathalyser tests to curb drunken driving.
SP Prasad said they promptly made the arrangement after hearing out what the Manch members had to say.
“Yes, we want schoolchildren to get home on time and safely. That is why we have decided to deploy two extra traffic constables in specific areas to regulate traffic. We will also conduct breathalyser tests to curb drunken driving from September 15. Those who drink and drive will be penalised,” Prasad said.
But the SP also suggested innovative ideas that he said could only be implemented if schools cooperated with him.
“It is observed that all schools close for the day around the same time, causing great rush at one particular time every afternoon. If some schools close half an hour earlier, the rush of children going home will be spaced out. I have requested some principals to cooperate. Let’s see,” Prasad said.
Next, the SP pointed out that school buses stopped every now and then to drop children, clogging traffic. “Keeping in mind the addresses of the children, if every school bus drops all children staying within a 200m radius at one point, the number of stops will be minimised automatically and traffic will be smoother. Frequently stopping school buses cause traffic snarls. I have asked principals to remedy this, but till date none has responded,” he said.
Manch members Ajay Rai, Nita Rai, Pawan Sharma, Sunil Gupta, among others, expressed satisfaction over the meeting.
“If afternoon traffic is well regulated, our children can get home on time. The SP listened to our worries patiently and gave prompt solutions,” said Ajay Rai.