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Students bear van crackdown brunt

Jamshedpur schoolgoers are emerging as the sufferers in the district police’s crackdowns on overloaded pool cars.

Although a new strategy helped police book 10 vehicles — six vans and four auto-rickshaws — between 6.30am and 7.30am on Thursday, it was back to square one in the latter part of the morning.

Instead of waiting near four Sakchi schools — Kerala Samajam Model School, Modern Public School, Gurunanak Middle and High School and Gurunanak Girls Inter College — the traffic personnel parked themselves at the roundabout near Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee. The move proved effective and 10 offenders were caught.

However, drivers soon started warning their fellow operators, who were on the way to the roundabout.

In order to dodge police, drivers followed the strategy used on Monday, the first day of the crackdown. They dropped students near Sakchi and Kasidih roundabouts, around 200m from the schools. Students were soon seen walking with heavy bags along the busy thoroughfares.

Traffic personnel were left with little to do other than help them cross the Sakchi-Kalimati road.

“Such operations won’t solve the problem. Rogue drivers will continue to find new ways to dodge us. Students will be lone sufferers as they will be dropped far from the cradles,” said traffic DSP R.M. Sinha, who led the drive.

He added that it was also the responsibility of parents to take such drivers to task as dropping students at busy intersections was unsafe.

Sinha also rued lack of response from the schools to the traffic department’s suggestion to introduce school buses.

“I had written to all schools. District transport department offers a concession on road tax to vehicles ferrying schoolchildren. So, private operators were willing to ply for the cradles. However, not one school has come forward,” he said.

Jamshedpur Abhibhavak Sangh president Umesh Kumar has threatened a protest against schools that are not starting the bus service.

“The cradles must start the service so that students’ lives are not put to risk by rogue van operators,” said Kumar.

Meanwhile, police seized three vehicles for underage driving at the same spot.

“We caught two girls and a boy in uniform. We fined them Rs 500 and their parents Rs 2,000. We aim to discourage citizens from allowing children to ride bikes in violation of traffic norms,” said the DSP.