Safety of schoolchildren will no longer be compromised, the East Singhbhum district administration has promised anxious parents.
Following a meeting with disgruntled representatives of Jamshedpur Abhibhavak Sangh at the collectorate on Thursday afternoon, deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal decided to launch a sustained drive against overloading of vehicles ferrying students to and from school.
The crackdown against offenders will begin from Monday, when most cradles in the steel city reopen after their Durga Puja vacation.
Umesh Kumar, the president of the parents’ outfit, pointed out that pool vans and auto-rickshaws were often packed beyond capacity, which led to accidents (see box). “At our meeting with the deputy commissioner, we cited Supreme Court and Jharkhand Education Tribunal guidelines. We have been assured of a sustained drive against unsafe vehicles,” he said.
Baridih resident Varun Kumar, whose son studies in Rajendra Vidyalaya, said the tribunal allowed auto-rickshaws to ferry only six children at a time, but most rogue three-wheelers packed in nine.
“Small children are often made to sit in the front. We request drivers not to put their lives in danger, but they rarely pay heed. Only the administration can tighten the noose around rogues,” he added.
Kaushal confirmed that crowded school vans would be taken to task from Monday. “The law will take its own course and the crackdown will be carried out on a regular basis. I have gone through the petitions of parents and will issue necessary instructions to authorities concerned,” he said.
Kumar said they would constitute a monitoring committee, comprising parents, to keep tabs on the administrative drive. “If the campaign fizzles out in a day or two, we will lodge a fresh complaint with the deputy commissioner through our monitoring committee members.”
“And, if the administration did not show earnestness even then, we will be forced to launch demonstrations in front of the district collectorate. We may also take legal recourse,” he warned.