Surprise! Schools are big polluters unknowingly

When a school of over 1,500 students does not provide bus facility, it can add up to 700 vehicles on roads.

Hyderabad: Schools that impart knowledge on eco-friendly choices can unknowingly turn into big polluters themselves. Many big schools do not provide bus or public transport connectivity, because of which parents are forced to drop and pick up their kids, which adds to the pollution burden. Hiring smaller vehicles to take students to schools has the same effect.

“Parents have to take out time to drop students or make arrangements for transport which is neither safe or reliable,” said Ms Seema Agarwal, a parent.

When a school of over 1,500 students does not provide bus facility, it can add up to 700 vehicles on roads. This makes peak hours of the morning and afternoon highly polluting. Schools though aware of this say that maintenance of buses becomes an issue and there is also the issue of safety of children.

“Many buses just come up to the main road which leaves parents anxious about the safety of their kids. Therefore many parents opt to drive the students to school themselves,” said Dr Narasimha Reddy, Principal, Hyderabad Public School, Ramanthapur.Officials from St Anns School, Secunderabad, which becomes a major traffic block point at school hours, say many parents did not opt for the school buses and they withdrew their services.

Parents say school which do have buses charge exorbitant rates. “If the price is reasonable, parents can opt it. But why would we pay more when we can do it ourselves in a cost-effective way,” says Mr Ashish Naredi of Hyderabad Schools Parents Association.

Many schools thus have approached the RTC to provide buses. “If such a situation prevails, parents from an area can approach the RTC and pay nominal fees to the government and they would oversee its maintenance,” said Mr T. Raghunath, joint transport commissioner.

Asked about the practice, RTC chief traffic manager Jeevan Prasad said the corporation has a scheme under which it runs a number of exclusive services. Parents can consider these in order to take the stress off themselves and traffic off the roads.

The RTC has deployed 96 buses for the purpose in the city.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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