Need digital tool to spot unfit buses: CBSE : The Tribune India

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Need digital tool to spot unfit buses: CBSE

Says student safety on roads outside its purview

Need digital tool to spot unfit buses: CBSE

Photo for representation. File photo



Tribune News Service

Aksheev Thakur

New Delhi, April 12

The tragic death of six children after a school bus overturned in Haryana’s Mahendragarh has put the spotlight back on flouting of safety norms by private transporters. The school in question is affiliated to the CBSE, which has no power to penalise institutions for apathy towards student safety on roads. The board’s bylaws are restricted to academic parameters alone. “It is the obligation of the Regional Transport Office of the state concerned to ensure the fitness of buses carrying schoolchildren. Also, education being a state subject schools in states can decide when to open or close,” a CBSE official said when asked if the board could act against the Haryana school for functioning on Eid.

Editorial: School bus mishap

The CBSE affiliation rules only cover facilities like labs, classrooms, teaching standards, examination norms and training of teachers.

Board officials, however, admit to lacuna with respect to safety of children in school buses. “There is an urgent need to develop software to alert the authorities on the expiry of fitness certificate of buses,” a board official said.

Plying of vehicles without valid documents is rampant across states. “Many buses and school vans ply illegally in the National Capital too. It is mandatory under the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), 1989 to obtain a fitness certificate without which the buses cannot be registered. This certificate is valid for two years after which it must be renewed. While the documents are digitised, we don’t have a system of sending renewal reminders to owners,” an inspector of the Delhi transport department said.

The authorities in Delhi impounded nearly 700 school buses between 2018 and 2023 for not possessing a valid fitness certificate or for lacking a fire alarm and other safety system.

Officials said RTOs in every state were empowered under the MVA to conduct inspection of vehicles and draft their own road safety rules. “Rule 31, sub-section 1 of the MVA allows surprise checks. Under Rule 21, the traffic police can issue challans if the vehicle owners do not have required documents,” a Delhi RTO official said.

Rule 184 of the Act says whoever drives dangerously shall be punished for the first offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with a fine up to Rs 1,000. If a second or subsequent offence is committed within three years, imprisonment can go up to two years and fine up to Rs 2,000.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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