The Delhi Transport Department has booked and penalised around 200 illegally plying school vans on the city roads in the last three days under a campaign against such vehicles, officials said. The move comes after a 7-year-old girl was killed while 18 other children were injured when an illegally-plying school van met with accident in north Delhi’s Keshavpuram last month. “We have so far booked 200 vehicles under the drive launched on Wednesday. We will not allow such vehicles to ply on the roads and besides a fine of Rs 5,000, cancellation of registration certificate for three months is also being done,” a senior transport department official said. Several teams of the Enforcement Wing of the department have been formed to catch such vehicles and the drive will be intensified from the coming week, he said.
As per the officials, the number of school vans registered with transport department is over 4,500 while a far larger number of illegal private vehicles, estimated around 40,000, are hired as school vans by the parents of children.
“Such vehicles ply on the road with utter impunity paying scant attention to safety of children. In the Keshavpuram accident, the van had outlived its permitted life of 15 years and its driver who had no police verification was found booked several times for traffic violations,” the official said.
Last year, the transport department had booked 750 illegal school vans till July 2017. The drive was stopped after a meeting between the associations of school van operators and the chief minister till January this year to give them time to complete paper work and safety measures. However, the official said no improvement was noticed and the illegal school vans continued to operate without fulfilling the laid down rules. The transport department has also urged the principals of schools to advise parents to hire vehicles registered as ‘school cabs’ only for safety of their wards.