Hyderabad: The new academic year is scheduled to begin in June; it is mandatory for school bus owners to get fitness certificates from the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) before schools re-open. These vehicles which skipped their fitness verification in December have not yet been done so in this month so far.
The city has nearly 10,500 school buses of various educational institutions under GHMC limits in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medchal districts. They are yet to obtain the mandatory fitness certificates.
Managements of these institutions claim that they would have to shell out Rs 50,000 – 70,000 on each bus for pending dues and repairs. As per MV rules issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, a penalty of Rs 50 a day is to be paid if they fail to obtain fitness certificates. Owners of these vehicles have been skipping fitness for the last two years.
The rules specify that school buses should have to get fitness in December or May. They must have required documents such as fitness, registration, insurance, transport permit, driving license of the concerned school bus drivers, basic amenities like good seat, fire extinguisher and first aid box in buses. This is to ensure the safety of children traveling in the buses.
Telangana Auto and Motor Welfare Union general secretary M Dayanand said if a vehicle lacks valid fitness its registration is also not valid. “For the last two years since the Covid-induced lockdown vehicles have not been obtained valid fitness and are running freely on roads. They have been skipping the yearly fitness. The Transport department has not even issued any notice when these vehicles skipped fitness in December. It has not taken any action against them, “he said.
According to officials, such vehicles would be charged a fee of Rs 2,800 each for fitness certificates at the time of applying. A source from the department said that with the resources and infrastructure available with RTA offices, 250 buses could get fitness every day.
As per the Central rules the IT wing of the Transport department denies fitness to buses that are over 15 years old. “The software itself declares such vehicles deemed to be unfit for carrying students.”
Owners of these buses say “We suffered heavy losses during the past two academic years as schools were closed. Our income resumed only in the past few months; we have many debts to be cleared. Also, the new Central Act on Rs 50 daily penalty has also burdened us. “