The state government on Friday formed a joint task force to draw up rules for the safety of schoolchildren travelling in pool cars and school buses and implement them.
A separate set of guidelines has been drawn up for commercial and private vehicles that ferry school students across the state.
The move — the first of its kind by state agencies to regulate pool cars — follows the death of an eight-year-old boy in a pool car accident at Polba in Hooghly district.
Senior officials of the transport and education departments, and Calcutta and Bengal police met at Nabanna on Friday. A joint task force was created and entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring “child safety” in pool cars, sources said.
The task force will crack down on private cars with white number plates plying as pool cars. “If a private vehicle is caught plying commercially as a pool car, it would be handed a showcause notice. The owner will have to explain in a week why a private car is being used commercially. If the car continues to flout the norm, its registration will be cancelled,” a transport department official said.
Commercial vehicles with yellow number plates can ply for not more than 15 years, according to Supreme Court guidelines. But there is no such bar on private vehicles with white number plates and many car owners illegally use private cars for commercial purpose.
Commercial vehicles with a valid fitness certificate found plying in a rickety condition and carrying schoolchildren would have to undergo a fresh test, sources said. If the vehicle continues to ply, the fitness certificate would be “blocked”. Its registration would be cancelled if it is found violating the rule for a third time, an official said.
The task force would ask schools across the state to maintain a register of the number of pool cars ferrying students and the condition of the vehicles.
The commissioner of school education would draw up a database of pool cars operating across schools and then pass it on to the transport department and the police.
“It is not difficult to check if a vehicle has a valid fitness certificate. Schools have been requested to maintain a record on the mode of conveyance of their students and carry out a basic checking of the vehicles that ferry the students,” said an official.
Source: The Telegraph