The condition of school buses in the Government Schools is good. The buses, service and maintenance work is better in Sattari Taluka till date. And, even if any problem occurs, the concerned authority takes immediate action and solves it in a smooth manner.
Whereas the private-aided schools running the Bal Rath School bus service are always down with maintenance work, keeping a poor service certificate.
Locals from Valpoi say parents residing in the area prefer private van services as a mode of transport for their school going children as they don’t face any issue with it.
Transportation for students residing in mining belt need immediate action Transport facility for students residing in the remote villages of Sanguem taluka is very poor and needs immediate improvement.
In the earlier days, the students had no problems to reach their destinations as the school buses operated by mining companies were in operation, but the situation has worsened since June last year when the mining companies stopped their free bus transport facilities meant for students indefinitely.
While the schools such as Miracles High School and Union High School have Bal Rath facilities, these bus services are not enough as many students are compelled either to hire a private vehicle or use public transport.
The students of schools in hinterland areas are also facing major issues where public transport facilities are equal to nil.
Suggestions have been made for the govt to extend the lone KTC bus which plies up to Kalay village from Curchorem till the Costi ward.
With only one or two Bal Rath bus service for a school, there is a lack of transportation for students. In a city like Ponda, the number of students in various schools is double as compared to the schools in remote areas. As a result of which, there are jam-packed vehicles across Ponda during the school opening and closing hours. Lack of school buses for students creates the need for hiring private vehicles. A group of parents hire a common private vehicle for transportation purpose and does not bother about safety aspect allowing the operator to stuff the vehicle with children leaving a very little space for them to breathe.
The overcrowded Bal Rath and private school buses have been one of the reasons why parents prefer enrolling their children in private schools as opposed to government schools. Moreover, there is a lack of transport facilities to govt primary schools while private schools, located 12-13 kms have a pick and dop facility.
Sources informed that the facility of Bal Rath is liable only for high school students however the private schools allow pre-primary and primary students along with secondary students, which in turns makes the bus crowded.
Adding to this, the Bal Rath facility is only liable to OBC and SC category however all the students including the General category and others use the Bal Rath facility. Schools with high enrollments have two Bal Rath buses. But, most of these private schools also have their own private buses along with Bal Rath.
Private transport facilities for students and traffic management outside schools has raised a security concern with instances of rash driving, overloading, speeding and talking on the phone while driving, etc.
While most of the children from private schools travel by their own arrangement which includes buses, vans, auto-rickshaws and even their own parent’s vehicles, the government aided schools to ply Bal Rath buses, which has a driver as well as an attendant to ensure safety for the students. A police officer further pointed out that these vans, buses, auto-rickshaws and tempos which disobey traffic norms pose a risk to the safety of children. However in the case of many families, both the parents are working and hence it becomes difficult for them to drop and pick the child from school on a daily basis.
Most of the parents in Bicholim are satisfied with the Bal Rath bus services even as there is a section of parents who feel that some schools should have been provided with more buses. Most of the schools in Bicholim have at least one bus which picks up and drops the students. There are no major problems for Parents who have enrolled their students in city schools. But to those students who have enrolled their students to village schools are experiencing difficulties.
Input from Devendra Gaonnkar, Alfred Fernandes, Santosh Naik, Asmita Polji, Andrea Fernandes and Samir Umarye