Private schools to stop running buses from July 1


Chennai: Over 1,000 private matriculation schools in the state are likely to stop operating their buses from July 1 as they allege that the government had made them run from pillar to post to get their vehicles cleared by the RTOs.
K.R. Nandakumar, secretary of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matric­ulation and Higher Seco­ndary Schools Assoc­iation, said that insurance companies had hiked their premium by 150 per cent, but as the fees committee had fixed low fees for schools they were not able to make ends meet.
“The RTOs seize our vehicles, citing lame reasons, and we are made to approach the court to get them back. Initially, we had planned to stage a protest by not operating our vehicles, but now the government has opened a dialogue with us. If the discussion is satisfactory we might run the vehicles or else we may go ahead with our plan to stop running the vehicles,” he said.
“We will convene our association meeting on June 28 to discuss our next course of action. We have about 10,000 schools in our association and not all will take part in the protest,” he added.
The correspondent of a private matric school said on condition of anonymity that several schools had already stopped operating their vehicles, which had resulted in numerous private vehicles with no proper registration with either the school or the government, mushrooming in the city.  He added that chief minister intervention was necessary. “We need such help to get us out of these hassles,” the correspondent said.
Failure of governance in improving road safety
A. Narayanan | DC
Tamil Nadu is once again in the news as the topper in road traffic accidents and fatalities amongst all other states in India. The reasons are not far to seek.
While official apathy and political indifference continues, roads in Tamil Nadu have become a maiming ground and a menace for road users. Ironically, after the road safety policy and road safety council were reconstituted, in the last 5 years,  73,536 people have perished in road traffic accidents and  3,19,829 accidents have happened in Tamil Nadu.
On an average, 27 people were killed every day in 2005. But, now, more than 44.4 people die every day on our killer roads. Six years and two months after the state road safety policy and state and district road safety councils were reconstituted, they have become flop shows.  Targets set to try and reduce road accidents have not worked. The number of accidents has only gone up. 
The state road safety council with minister for transport as chairperson is supposed to meet once in three months to discuss various measures on road safety. Since its formation, the council should have met 22 to 24 times but it has met only 5 times in 6 years. District road safety councils under the chairpersonship of district collectors are to meet every month and they have been most irregular.  
Decisions taken at safety meetings to upgrade driving schools and reopen 18 state transport driving schools and establish driving schools in 20 private engineering colleges have not been implemented. 
The patrol vehicles equipped with blood alcohol testing equipment were to be up and running and stringent action without discrimination was supposed to have been taken against drunk drivers. None of this has really happened. 
If alarmed by the latest statistics on road traffic accidents and such WHO publications, the government asks a retired chief justice to identify the issues to prevent killing on roads, he would certainly conclude that an abysmal failure of governance is the root cause of this evil.

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