Holiday Bells: A school bus fleet in Ranchi
Schoolchildren in Ranchi are likely to enjoy a week-long holiday, beginning mid-April, because their campus fleet will be busy running poll errands.
A meeting on Thursday, which returning officer and deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey convened with representatives of 60 private schools, agreed on relegating 500 buses for election duty.
To buffer the inconvenience that students might have to face in the absence of their campus transport backbone, schools in and around the capital are mulling suspension of classes for two days.
The buses will taken away on April13; the day after is a school holiday because of Ambedkar Jayanti, while April 17 is the polling date and April 18 marks Good Friday. So, effectively, capital cradles will have to remain shut on April 15 and 16 to grant students a week-long holiday windfall.
Kairali School principal Rajan Varghese hinted at holiday hurrah. “Though we will take a final decision on the matter after our school reopens for a new session on Monday, in principle, we are unlikely to hold classes because most students take our buses to reach campus,” he said.
Vice-principal of Jawahar Vidya Mandir S.K. Ghosh echoed Varghese.
“We have been asked to provide 19 buses. With the fleet on poll duty, we will have to think whether we can hold classes and whether it is meet to ask children to make alternative arrangements to come to school. Also, we will have to keep poll engagement of parents in mind. A meeting will be held in this regard soon,” Ghosh said.
While principal of Bishop Westcott Boys’ School R.I. Thronton remained non-committal, a cradle official hinted that Easter holidays would anyway start from April 16 and the management wouldn’t possibly mind to suspend classes for an extra day on April 15.
The few schools that might stay open during the pre-poll window have decided to go slo-mo on syllabus so that children who are unable to reach campus on public transport do not have problem catching up on lessons later.
Principal of DAV-Kapildev M.K. Sinha said they were planning to request parents to arrange for alternative means of transport. “But, those who cannot come need not worry. No new lessons will be taught during those two days,” the principal added.
Admitting that engaging school buses for polls would largely inconvenience children, deputy commissioner Choubey said they had no option.
“Polling parties are sent to their respective booths on these buses. Though Ranchi needs only 300, the remaining 200 will run in neighbouring districts. Besides, for each 52-seater bus, schools will be given a daily fare of Rs 2,890, while each mini-bus will be worth Rs 1,800 a day,” he added.