Relief for educational institute buses till September 30

By Special Correspondent

The number of school or institutional buses running in Anantapur district has come down from 1,309 in 2019 to 1,205 in 2021, and according to the recovery agents for various prominent financial institutions lending money for the purchase of these buses on equated monthly instalments, close to 500 vehicles are likely to be seized due to non-payment for a very long time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Transport has given an exemption to all institutional buses from paying quarterly taxes till September 30 and the Road Transport Authority staff are not checking for fitness/insurance of the buses.

Many of the “budget private schools” have surrendered their vehicles to the financiers. The parents of the children travelling by school buses are sceptical about the safety of their wards as the vehicles do not possess a valid fitness certificate.

“The government is considering doing away with the compulsion of getting fitness certificate just within 20 to 25 days as it was humanly impossible for the RTA staff to qualitatively assess the fitness of all buses. It is not clear as to when and how this process will be done after September 30,” said Deputy Transport Commissioner N. Siva Rama Prasad. It may become a continuous process so that, as per stipulation, each MVI or RTO checks 10 vehicles thoroughly per day.

While the State government has stipulated running of classes on alternate days for Classes 6 and 8; and 7 and 9, many of the private schools are running classes with full attendance on all days for all classes and the stipulation of only 50% occupancy in classrooms or buses is being openly flouted, the parents in Anantapur complain. The COVID-appropriate behaviour in buses/schools has gone for a toss at most of the schools.

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