PANAJI: Over 100 private vehicle operators, ferrying school students, along with parents raised their voice against the RTO’s drive against the transportation of students beyond the vehicle capacity, and demanded to legalise their business.
The state transport department has undertaken the drive from the last week against ‘errant’ private vehicle operators for carrying students illegally in excess of their vehicle capacity.
Many parents gathered at a Cujira-based school premises, on Monday morning, demanded a halt to the RTO drive against private vehicle operators ferrying school children, reasoning out that ferrying limited students would lead to higher charges.
Speaking to media many parents and private vehicle operators asked the government to stop the drive, and legalise their operations with a fixed tariff.
One of the private vehicle operators, on the condition of anonymity, said that “we cannot afford to ferry the children as per the existing seating capacity, and hence we have modified the vehicles to carry few more children, so that the operations become viable. We are ready to pay all taxes if our business is legalised.”
A parent said that “As we are both working parents, we have hired a vehicle so that my child reaches home on time and safely. There is no complaint against the operator. We want the government to intervene in the matter and come out with a permanent solution.”
A senior transport official, who did not wish to be named, said that the drive has come in the backdrop of a direction issued by the High Court of Bombay at Goa to weed out the illegal operators, and keep a vigil on existing buses, private school vehicles and rickshaws against any modifications for carrying students in excess of their permitted capacity.
“We will conduct surprise inspections outside the schools and on the roads. Anybody found violating the norms will be issued show-cause notice, and in case of buses, their permits will be suspended,” he stated.
Rickshaw operators and private vehicle owners have remodeled their vehicles to ferry students beyond their capacity, without following the safety rules, thereby risking the lives of the children.