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NAVI MUMBAI TRAFFIC CONTROL DEPT EXPOSES FAILURE OF ALL DEPARTMENTS OVER CHILDREN SAFETY IN SCHOOL BUS SYSTEMS

traffic-police-meet-7The Navi Mumbai Traffic control dept organized a meeting at Dr. D Y Patil Auditorium. Parents, teachers, school representatives, RTO officials and bus contractors were called for this joint meeting. The meeting exposed negligence by all related to bus services of schools. After the Panvel School Bus Fire tragedy that claimed the lives 2 children and burnt several others, the Navi Mumbai Traffic police has woken up to the need of regulating the safety in this sector. For the same a meeting was called at Dr. D Y Patil Auditorium where DCP Zone 1 Pratap Digaonkar, DCP HQ Namdeo Chauhan, NMMC City Engineer Mohan Dagaonkar, Dy. Regional Transport Officer Bharat Kalaskar, ACP Traffic Srikant Dhiwre and bus along with school management, parents, teachers and bus contractors were present. All the persons present was seen defending his own office and pushing both responsibility and blame on the other. ACP Srikant Dhiwre said that after the Panvel bus tragedy, the intensive drive to check school buses revealed that 50% buses did not even have proper bus doors that could close. Following this, the traffic police have sent notice to all schools and if action is not taken within stipulated time, the traffic police will initiate action against the schools. DCP Pratap Digaonkar informed that they are forming an Action Taken Report Committee to ensure that safety measures for school transport system are implemented. Dy. Regional Transport Officer Bharat Kalaskar said that tragedies like the one that happened with Panvel’s CKT School bus takes place more due to negligence on part of school management and less due to technical reasons. He accepted that that the rules and regulations of school transport mechanism often just remain on paper. Bharat Kalaskar informed that they have asked schools to convert emergency exit windows into emergency exit doors. He said since students do not know how to use safety equipments within buses; they will be trained to do so. Speaking to the media, Bharat Kalaskar informed the measures his office is taking. BUS CONTRACTORS FACE THE HEAT With CKT School Bus Fire tragedy, bus contractors are facing heat. NMMC Corporator Santosh Shetty is one of the major bus contractors for schools. The seminar saw the corporator blaming the administrative systems for the fire incident, which led to an argument between him and the police. Bus contractors are evidently in the line of fire every since the Panvel Bus tragedy has exposed the violations of rules and regulations by them. One contractor to be hit hard is NMMC Congress Corporator Santosh Shetty. When the corporator came to address the gathering, he started lambasting the authorities for the Panvel mishap. Santosh Shetty said that the police itself are ignorant about the rules and regulations. He pointed out that the Supreme Court rules that the police is talking about were made 12 years ago and the police has woken up now. It was at this point, DCP Pratap Digaonkar and his brigade of police officers seemed to have lost their cool. They asked Santosh Shetty to speak to the point. ACP Dhiwre stood up and asked Santosh Shetty that where does he park more than 100 buses that he owns. This led to sort argument between both the sides. Santosh Shetty accepted in front of the media that he has more than 100 buses. He further informed the parking crisis that he faces. He said that not only in Mumbai but everywhere parking is a crisis. Speaking about the thefts, Santosh Shetty says that not only his but many other contractors also have no choice but to park their buses on roads. He added that he has received memo for violation of fire safety norms but he managed to get his buses out. On the other hand, Dy. RTO Bharat Kalaskar said that no matter how influential the contractor be, they have given 30 days notice period for implementation of safety measures in school buses, failing which action will be taken against all violators. DCP Pratap Digaonkar on the other hand defended his department for inaction on violation of bus parking norms and said that they do not bend under pressure. The most unfortunate side to all this is that it took the lives of a few innocent children and trauma of their parents for authorities to wake up from the deep slumber and take action against the bus contractors mafia in the city. With cameraperson Roshan Hate, Monika Bhosale for NMTV News.

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