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Ramakanta Biswas

Hundreds of children of government-run schools in the tribal-dominated Malkangiri district are forced to take a risky ride to their schools every day due to alleged callousness of the authorities.

As per sources, a bus engaged in ferrying children to their schools in the district headquarters town does not have a valid fitness certificate. About 500 children, who stay in a hostel at Sileru run by the SC/ST development department, depend on the lone bus to reach their schools. 

According to information available in the government’s parivahan portal, the vehicle class of the bus bearing registration number-OR305982 is educational institution bus (LPV). The fitness of the bus has expired on May 13, 2014, and the vehicle’s insurance was valid up to April 5, 2013, while its tax was valid till May 31, 2020. 

The students complained that they often get delayed while waiting for the lone bus to reach their schools. 
“We face difficulties as the single bus is ferrying us to schools. Another bus, which was ferrying us earlier, is lying defunct. As a large number of children depend on the bus, we often reach school late,” said a student.  

“We regularly come to school in the bus and reach hostel in the same bus after finishing our classes. Therefore, we have to wait for a long time to catch the bus,” said another girl student.  

The bus driver said the condition of the bus is good, but feigned ignorance about the vehicle's documents. 

“The bus is in good condition. As the timing is same for all schools, children have to wait for the bus. I have no knowledge about the bus' documents, the office authorities can tell,” said the bus driver, Purnachandra Raju.

Khiradri Behera, project director of tribal development department said, “We have asked the RTO to provide report about the fitness of the bus. The bus ferries children in the town area only. If the children have any issue, they can complain and we will look into that.”

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