After rape case, school terminates contract with bus operator
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Until Sunday, Ram Singh was a little known man who drove one of the buses of Yadav Travels, transporting students of a school in South Delhi.
With Singh in police custody as an accused in the gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedic student, Birla Vidya Niketan School in Pushp Vihar on Tuesday terminated its contract with the bus contractor. The Transport department too has decided to cancel the permit of the bus.
"We have terminated the contract with Yadav Travels. The school does not want to associate itself with people who could have committed such a heinous crime," school principal Meenakshi Kushwaha said.
Kushwaha said the school had not received any reports of "misbehaviour" against the driver or the private bus company till date.
"The contractor has been ferrying our children for the past four years. There was never any incident of any misbehaviour. Over the past four years, there have been a series of guidelines issued by the Supreme Court and the CBSE with regard to safety of buses, all of which we follow diligently," she said.
Parents are happy with the school's decision, though they maintain that there was never any complaint against the bus service. "A teacher always accompanied the students in the bus. Other than delays because of tyre punctures and other glitches, there was never a problem. However, it is a relief to hear that the school has dissociated itself from the contractor," a parent said.
The Transport department, meanwhile, is working on strict action against those who violate permit norms. Transport Commissioner Rajendra Kumar said: "The contract chartered bus was operating in violation of permit conditions and picking up unscheduled passengers. While we have been carrying out enforcement drives on a regular basis, we will ensure more stringent enforcement.''
The department is also considering installing GPS devices in public transport vehicles.
But the plans could be hit due to the staff shortage in the department. At present, the department has 30 enforcement teams, of three officials each, as opposed to 36 teams a few years ago. The teams usually check for pollution levels and violations by commercial vehicles, and not permit violations.
According to Transport officials, at least 8,000 contract chartered buses ply in the city, apart from 2,500 school buses. "We will also check how many other chartered buses were being operated by the owner (Yadav Travels) and on what routes the other buses were plying. We have also asked police to inform us if the driver had a licence and a public service vehicles badge,'' a Transport official said.