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Vikash Sharma

The Odisha State Transport Authority (STA) on Sunday made an appeal to authorities of all schools in the State to put brakes on unfit vehicles engaged in the transportation of children.

Noting that it is the school management’s responsibility to ensure that Supreme Court guidelines for plying of school buses are complied, the STA has now geared up for strict enforcement of ‘Policy on Transportation of School Children’ framed in 2016.

“The issue of safety of school children transportation cannot be taken lightly. The concerned school bus operators and school managements are responsible for inconvenience to students, if any,” said Sanjay Biswal, Joint Commissioner Transport, Road Safety.

Notably, as many as 1096 vehicles engaged in transporting school students in the State have been penalised for flouting road safety rules during a week-long drive recently. It has been found that 820 vehicles were plying without fitness certificate while 387 vehicles were operating without valid permit. Surprisingly, 311 drivers did not have valid Driving License which has emerged as a major concern.

“Safety of children is paramount. No vehicle can ply without absolute compliance to the safety laws. While drivers have been punished and fines have been imposed, the overall responsibility still lies with the schools. The school authorities cannot turn a blind eye to this. It is their responsibility to ensure that drivers are physically fit and have proper driving license to ferry school children,” the STA said in a release.

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