Punjab

Muktsar fines 132 school vehicles, impounds 24 in two days, while Faridkot only fined 17, impounded 4 on Monday, influential being spared

Raghbir Singh Brar | February 19, 2020 11:56 AM

SDM Muktsar Virpal Kaur have fined the 83 school buses in two days and impounded 12, while, Gurjeet Singh ADC Faridkot, fined 17 and impounded 4 in Jaitu subdivision on Monday. No latest figure about Faridkot till filing of this report at 9 PM Tuesday.

“Nearly 100 to 150 vehicles of our school are going on strike on Wednesday,” said Rajwinder Singh, who runs transport for a very prominent private school in Faridkot.

Political dominance in areas allegedly seems to have affected the cases of fines too.

Selective approach, buses of influential businessmen running schools affiliated to politicians run fearlessly in violation of the rules.

Kotkapura MLA Kultar Singh claims to have written a letter to DC Faridkot for alleged violations by school vans three months back.

Muktsar/Faridkot: As state government has woken up to shed crocodile tears to check broad daylight violations by school vehicles after the shocking incident of Longowal in which the 4 small children had been charred to death in a 30 years old school van, Faridkot district has been going too slow as for fining the school buses running in violation.

According to the press note, issued by Gurjeet Singh, additional deputy commissioner Faridkot on Monday, by that evening only 17 school buses were fined and 4 impounded under Jaitu subdivision while, in Muktsar subdivision alone, 43 school vehicles had been fined and in the district, comprising three subdivisions, 73 vehicles had been fined and 5 were impounded same day.

 

In two days on Monday and Tuesday, about 83 school vehicles have been fined and 12 ones have been impounded by the SDM Muktsar Virpal Kaur alone under the directions of MK Arvind Kumar, DC Muktar.

Muktsar had fined about, 17,83,32 vehicles respectively in Giddarbaha, Muktsar and Malout subdivisions respectively, totalling to about 132 fined and 25 impounded.

 

Fined violators cry foul in Faridkot, go on strike

“Some teams from Chandigarh had visited Faridkot to check the documents etc of school vans in Faridkot on Tuesday and they have fined many vehicles. The teams had stationed themselves outside a prominent school in Faridkot and checked each and every vehicle. They fined the vans on school duty finding them running in violation. Even some of the drivers tried to ferry children on private vehicles, but they were too not spared. So all the private transport of the school is going on strike on Wednesday. There are about 100 to 150 school vehicles of all kinds ferrying nearly 5000 school children as the school does not have its own transport and takes no responsibility for the transport of the children. We are of the opinion that we are running a small business by ferrying school children to earn our living, but unable to pay hefty fines,” said Rajwinder Singh (name changed), who also runs the school vans to this school.

Now fined, as claimed by him, the man had been running his school vehicles in all violations for two years, but no action was taken against him by anybody.

This way, nearly thousands of students of that prominent school would have to suffer on Wednesday.

But to know how many vehicles have been fined by Tuesday, Faridkot authorities were tight-lipped.

Dr Mandeep Kaur, SDM Kotkapura and Jaitu, Hardeep Singh, secretary regional transport authority Faridkot and Gurjeet Singh, ADC Faridkot, who had fined the 17 buses in Jaitu subdivision on Monday, did not attend the phone calls. Hardeep Singh, Secretary RTA had his phone switched off while ADC even did not respond to the text message by Punjab Tribune too.

A pattern of favouritism and selective approach

While the number of school buses checked and fined in Faridkot is very less as compared to the Muktsar, still, the number of the fined vehicles is too small, merely an eyewash in both the district as the PT observed.

Thousands of school vans/buses/auto-rickshaws run in both the districts and other vehicles, most of them run in violation. Most of them do not have conductors, speed governors, first aid boxes, drinking water, uniformed drivers and fire extinguishers etc, yet only a small number of them have been fined.

Even, the transport of the private schools being run with some political protection has been spared as compared to their violations.

The school in Faridkot in question, the private transport of which is going on strike on Tuesday seems to have come to limelight for alleged violations, subsequent fines and checking because it is being run by a trust and does not please the bureaucrats and politicians. The transport is on school duty and so they had to earn the wrath for the violations.

The parents find themselves into a helpless situation as if they try to argue with the schools' authorities, they are singled out and their wards are harassed or they are asked to withdraw them and nobody listens to them.

It is not that the school vehicles are running in violation without the knowledge of authorities, but political interference and forcing the school transport to take people to the rallies by the political parties also encourage them to run unbridled.

Kotkapura MLA Speak

“I had written a letter in this regarding DC Faridkot about 3 months back asking him to ensure the safety of the school children. I demand that all those school vehicles which are running in violation must be fined without the affiliation of school owners to any political party. There is hardly any speed governors and conductors in school vans. After the Longowal incident, the government is doing only an eyewash. Rather the checking to stop such violations should go on daily,” said Kultar Singh, MLA Kotkapura.

 Is it a pattern

Giddarbaha and Faridkot are being represented by congress and Jaitu, Kotkapura, and Muktsar are being represented by AAP and SAD respectively, which attracted most cases of penalties.

 

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