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Pandemic forces closed schools in Kolkata to dispose of unused, unfit buses

Long period of disuse cited as reason behind buses rendered unfit and economically unviable to invest in a vehicle not knowing when it will run again

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 21.12.21, 10:27 AM
Representational image.

Representational image.

File photo

Several schools have either sold off their buses or returned those that were outsourced.

Reason: the long period of disuse have made them unfit and it might not be economically viable to invest in a vehicle not knowing when it will run again.

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Modern High School for Girls, Sri Sri Academy have done away with the buses and Mahadevi Birla World Academy has reduced the fleet to half its original strength in the past few months.

Moreover, as hybrid classes will continue and with 50 per cent of students expected to come to school, arranging a route with reduced numbers can be challenging, a head of a school said.

The government gave a go-ahead to schools to start in-person classes from November 16 for classes IX to XII. But many private schools that resumed classes are following a system of online/offline classes where only some students come to school on a particular day and others attend from home.

Several schools, even those which have not given away the buses, said the vehicles were lying idle on the premises.

Getting the buses back into a running condition would mean spending lakhs of rupees and it might not be cost-effective, schools felt.

“This is to inform you that we have been compelled to dispose of our school buses as the long period of disuse since March 2020 had made them totally unfit to ply on the roads. It is still not known when middle and junior school students, who were the main users of our bus service, will be permitted to attend school. In these circumstances, it was not found viable to repair these buses,” said a notice from Devi Kar, the director of Modern High School for Girls to parents on Friday.

The buses at Modern High School for Girls were primarily for students up to Class VIII and the school let go of four of the buses. Sri Sri Academy returned 11 outsourced buses and Mahadevi Birla World Academy disposed of the old buses and currently has eight.

Both Modern High School and Mahadevi Birla World Academy that owned the buses have absorbed the staff in other departments, they said.  “It is indefinite as to when the entire school will come back,” said Suvina Shunglu, the principal of Sri Sri Academy.

But schools will work out plans to help students commute to the institutions.

Modern High School for Girls have told parents that they would help to form car pools and they will be managed by the parents. “The school could provide information to the parents as to how many students live in a particular area that would help car pooling,” Kar told The Telegraph.

Mahadevi Birla has clubbed routes and Sri Sri Academy will explore options of non air-conditioned transport when more students can come.

Last updated on 21.12.21, 10:27 AM
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