School Vans: The Law Will Be Applied in Full Force
28 Mai 2012 - Défi Media Group
The National Transport Authority (NTA) will enforce the law in all its rigor to ensure the safety of children in school vans.
The presence of an assistant driver, duly registered, will be mandatory. However, it is the parents who may pay the price, as stated by the chairman of the school vans, Nazir Jungee. He was a guest in Nadarajen Pillay For or against his side and had, K. Beeharry-Bissessur, Principal Inspector of the NTA.
> Mr. Beeharry-Bissessur, it suggests that to date, 850 school vans are recorded at the NTA. Is this true?
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: Indeed some 850 school vans are recorded at the NTA.
> It also says that the school van, which was involved in the accident of Red Earth, was not registered with the NTA ...
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: The van in question is registered to a private institution.
> So it does not have a permit to school van?
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: No.
> Can you tell us if an inspector of the NTA increased the number of school vans operating illegally.
K. Beeharry Bissessur: Occasionally, the inspectors of the NTA are checks around schools, to see if the school vans are licensed operation. Tickets were issued, and now we plan to put a seal on vehicles that are not in good standing with the law.
> Jungee Nazir, did you estimate the number of school vans operating illegally?
Nazir Jungee: I admit it is hard for me to give a precise figure, but there are illegal operators throughout the country. However, they operate mainly in cities. Among them, there are taxis and private cars. I take this opportunity to make a call to the parents' responsibility. They must be aware that travel to their children in a school van illegal is very dangerous. The driver in question does not work according to regulations. He has no accountability. In case of accident, they will not bring the case to court, because the van is not registered. The school vans are easily identified. They have a plate of "School Bus" in front and behind. If in doubt, a parent may require that the driver showed him his operating permit. This is advice I give to parents.
> K. Beeharry Bissessur, how many illegal school vans have they been sanctioned so far by the NTA?
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: From January to date, 125 illegal operators have been fined. I can even say that we will be more aggressive on the ground from next week.
> Tell us about the penalties in force.
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: An illegal operator is liable to a fine of Rs 500, and for a subsequent offense, you can go up a seal. But as I've said, we are considering the seal on the first offense.
> Do not you think that a fine of Rs 500 is ridiculous, because that's life of children aged 4 to 6 years is at stake?
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: I agree that the punishment is too light for such an offense. The authorities are considering more drastic measures against offenders.
> The law says that every school van on board must have an assistant driver. It turns out that far, the NTA has not yet applied this provision of the law. Why?
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: This law was passed in 2002. Section 34 (a) states that every school has to use a van with driver-and have an identity issued by the Commissioner of the NTA.
> How to explain that this law has not yet been put into practice?
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: When this law was passed in 2002, there have been several protests by operators of school vans. Through their association, they argued that they can ensure the salary of an assistant driver. This explains why the authorities are flexible on this. But we made the decision to enforce the law in all its rigor. We will require that there be an assistant driver in all school vans. Any help will be a driver identification issued by the NTA. We will shortly issue a statement to that effect. On Monday, our inspectors will be on the ground to educate operators of school vans on the need for an assistant driver.
> K. Beeharry-Bissessur, ten years later, we're still stuck. When do you think this law will finally put into practice?
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: This is a problem that concerns not only the authorities but also the operators of vans and school parents. As I have said, on Monday we start our field operation.
> You have not answered my question. When did this law come into effect? This is still the safety of 50,000 children who use this mode of transport.
K. Beeharry-Bissessur: At this point, I can not say when this law becomes effective. But I can assure you that we will do our best for it to be applied in all its rigor.
> Mr. Nazir Jungee, you have made several representations to delay implementation of this legislation ...
Nazir Jungee: It is a fact that the vast majority of operators have duly registered an assistant driver. But mostly, it comes to their mothers, wives or sisters. Financially, we are unable to employ an assistant driver. Despite the fact that the person works only two hours in the morning and two o'clock in the afternoon, we must give an acceptable salary. We must save it in the office of Labour. She is entitled to sick leave and other leave.
In the absence of that employee, what will happen there? We demanded from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Transportation allowance of Rs Interior 4000 per month for the salary of an assistant driver. If we use two, we must register them with the NTA, to ensure their salaries, give them their year-end bonus, vans and school do not take the 13th month. If we are forced to employ two assistants drivers, unfortunately it will be parents who will pay the price.