July 23, 2010

School buses double up as marriage coaches

Some managements running maxi cabs and luxury tourist cabs for transporting students
Special camps being organised to ensure safe transportation of students, maintenance of buses

Hyderabad: Several school and college managements have now found a new way to make quick money by operating their buses to private functions on the sly.

Two buses of Ascentia Global School, Madhapur and Nizam Institute of Engineering, Gachibowli were seized by the Transport Department last week for operating their buses for marriage parties, according to Secunderabad Regional Transport Officer V. Sundar. The managements were levied a penalty of Rs. 2,000 each. Educational institution buses are given subsidies in terms of road tax and they are not supposed to operate buses for private functions even during holidays.

But it was found that many institutions were violating the Motor Vehicles Act and operating their buses as contract carriages, he said. This apart, many managements in violation of MV Act had purchased maxi cabs and luxury tourist cabs to operate them as school buses.

As per the Act, a school bus should have safety grills outside the windows, provision for first aid box, an attendant to help students board and alight buses, etc., but such provisions lack in maxi cabs.

The objective behind purchasing maxi cabs is to use them for their personal use during holidays and beyond school hours since using a school or college bus would not be feasible. Last week, a maxi cab belonging to St. Andrew's School was seized for operating it as a school bus, said Mr. Sundar. A special drive was launched last week and already 14 school buses belonging to Narayana School, Pallavi Model School, Delhi Public School, Grahambell School and others were seized for different violations, including employing drivers lacking valid driving licenses.

Over Rs. 3 lakh was recovered as penalties from the managements, he informed.
“Special camps are being conducted in schools on maintenance of school buses and safe transportation of students. Two such camps were conducted at Delhi Public School and Meridian School on Saturday,” said Joint Transport Commissioner B. Venkateswarlu.

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