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Parents wary of school car curbs

Traffic jam in front of La Martiniere for Boys. The picture was taken in January

Calcutta: Parents of students have questioned the viability of the police's proposal to introduce even-odd rationing for vehicles in the city's school district even before it has been implemented.

Many felt that the "even-odd" formula would put owners of a single car at disadvantage as they were not keen to let their children share a ride with a friend on alternate days, as suggested by the traffic police.

"On many occasions, the children are dropped off to school by drivers. How can I trust another person's driver with the safety of my daughter? Besides, an attendant accompanies my daughter to school, so car pooling is not possible," said the father of a Class V student of Modern High School for Girls.

Parents who have children studying in the La Martiniere Schools or in different classes of the same school find it more convenient for their car to wait and pick up both children - an arrangement that would not work if the even-odd restriction is imposed.

Modern High School, too, received emails from parents of students seeking clarifications.

"A few parents have sent us emails seeking certain clarifications about the implementation. We will share the questions with the police and ask them to explain the concept to the parents," said Devi Kar, the director of Modern High School.

The police have asked the La Martiniere Schools and Modern High School to let them know the number of vehicles that ferry students to and from the institutes along with the registration number of each vehicle.

The survey is part of an assessment to find out how many vehicles assemble near these schools in the morning and afternoon and the police's attempt to reduce the volume of traffic in the city's school district by implementing the "even-odd" formula by issuing stickers of two colours to students.

"What if a car with a sticker breaks down?" asked a parent. "What if I pick up my daughter in a friend's car which has no sticker?" asked another. One parent wondered how the police would know if he dropped his daughter to school before heading to office without using the sticker.

"Ultimately, how a child goes to school is the parents' decision. We can make them aware and cooperate and support the police, which we are doing. But we cannot share any information without the consent of parents," said John Rafi, the principal of La Martiniere for Boys.

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