The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has directed the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to reschedule its bus services according to school timings to prevent hardship to students.
Commission member Reni Antony, on Friday, directed the KSRTC chairman and managing director to issue orders for rescheduling bus services after considering petitions from school Headmasters/Principals so that students could reach and leave schools on time.
The Kollam District Transport Officer and the assistant transport officers of the Punalur and Pathanapuram KSRTC depots were asked to take steps to reschedule bus services on receiving applications from headmaster/principal of Government Higher Secondary School, Ottakkal, and Mohammedan Government Higher Secondary School, Idathara, and restart a bus service to benefit the students of Government Higher Secondary School, Punnala.
The commission was considering petitions from PTA president of the Ottakkal and Idathara school PTA presidents as well as students of Government Higher Secondary School, Punnala.
The Ottakkal school had students from the hilly eastern regions of the district such as Edapalayam, Aryankavu, Thenmala, Punalur Vellimala, Edamon and so on but they could not reach the school on time. The PTA wanted the KSRTC bus timings to be revised so as to reach the school at 8.45 a.m. and depart at 4.45 p.m.
At the Idathara school, the higher secondary timings were from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.. but the bus from the Pathanapuram depot reached the school at 9.30 a.m. and left at 4.10 p.m. This prevented students from following the school timings and affected their studies.
A Punalur-Alimukku-Punnala-Pathanapuram bus that used to ply earlier was yet to be resumed though the Punnala school had reopened, students of the school complained. The three-km distance from Alimukku to Punnala was through a forest, they said.
During an online hearing, the KSRTC officials from the Punalur and Pathanapuram depots agreed to reschedule the bus timings on the applications of school authorities so that students could reach school and leave in time. They also agreed to resume the Punalur-Alimukku-Punnala-Pathanapuram bus service.
The commission observed that students in hilly regions of the State suffered a lot of transportation problems. There were many issues related to the time schedule of buses in areas where only KSRTC buses plied. Bus timings on various routes should be fixed taking into account the time students needed to reach school and get back home. The KSRTC authorities should also ensure that students’ transport facilities got priority. Rescheduling the bus services would help end students’ travel woes.
Students in many other schools in the State suffered similar problems. Steps should therefore be taken to reschedule KSRTC bus timings for the benefit of students, the panel said.