Many auto drivers are risking the lives of students by ferrying more than the permissible numbers. (Representational image: DC)
Hyderabad: As the traffic signal at Patny turns red, an auto driver asks two school students to get off the vehicle and boards them again after crossing the signal fearing a challan for carrying more than the permitted numbers of passengers.
In their bid to make an extra buck, many auto drivers are risking the lives of students by ferrying more than the permissible numbers. As the private school buses charge a bomb, parents, particularly working couples, are left with no option but to go in for autos to send their wards to school.
"The quarterly school bus fare touches Rs 8,000 and hence our preference for autos. However, the children feel suffocated in the auto and lose their belongings as their bags and baskets are loosely tied and often fall on the roads," said a Tamanah K, whose child studies in a private school.
She added that it gets difficult for students to travel in such conditions and the traffic police do not warn auto drivers, which bolsters them.
Another parent, Chetan Kumar said that it gets most difficult for students to travel in autos during monsoon.
"There are days when the driver’s calls in sick suddenly or comes late during exams, which is quite worrisome. Instead of spending heavily on the school bus, we opt for an auto and use the money thus saved to buy art and stationery material from the school," he said.
A parent, who shifted her child from auto to the school bus, said that even though it is expensive, the child’s safety is important as her daughter’s arm was hit by another car as the auto was overcrowded.
"Even if there is a change in school timings, the bus will be there, unlike auto drivers. It is expensive when compared to autos but safe and regular," she said.
DCP traffic police Hyderabad B.K. Rahul Hegde said that his department personnel were directed to book cases against all auto drivers, who ferry more than the permissible limit.
"Around 15 cases have been booked against such errant drivers in January. Last year, we booked 4,305 such cases," he said.