While the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi Government has taken substantial steps to improve basic infrastructure in schools, providing transportation and security to students still remain gnawing concerns.
An instance can be seen in upscale Civil Lines area where wards of Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, which is run by the Delhi government, risk their lives to go home after school hours on a daily basis.
In the absence of formal conveyance, the boys run after passing private and commercial vehicles like DTC buses, trucks and tempos, just managing to board them at Red Light.
The girls, meanwhile, take lifts from strangers which can prove perilous any day. Mail Today visited the school around 2 pm on Tuesday and found at least two dozen boy students dangling on to the rears of tempos.
On several occasions, they have had a narrow escape after falling down, luckily not coming under the wheels of other vehicles. Surprisingly, this state of affairs has not come to the notice of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal though his residence is a stone’s throw away, just 300 metres, from the school.
This reporter couldn’t even see a guard at the gates of the school, or any traffic personnel, to stop the children. The adolescents, themselves, painted a sad picture when questioned about this situation.
“We belong to the underprivileged class and our parents cannot afford to pay the fares of buses or the Metro for our daily commute to school,” said Raju, a student of class 8.
“We have a bus stop nearby, but the drivers of DTC cluster buses and Haryana Roadways buses avoid stopping here, knowing students would not pay the fare. We have put this matter before our Principal Madam, but she has expressed helplessness in resolving this,” he added. Another student, Saurabh Kumar of class 10 said as this school is run by the Delhi government, it is not providing transport to students.
“We used to wait on the pavements and request bus drivers and conductors to open the doors for us and allow us to board; but they would turn down our calls. Students like me have no choice but to climb on to trucks, tempo and other vehicles having rear side open to travel some distance,” he said.
The senior secondary school affiliated to CBSE has classes from standard 6 to 12. Around 800 students are enrolled here currently. The spot just outside the school, a Tpoint located between Upper Bela Road and Flagstaff Road, is considered a ‘high speed zone,’ especially during green signal.
Besides, a left turn towards the Indraprastha College for Women (Delhi University) is always open which allows uninterrupted movement of vehicles. No reply could be elicited from Atishi Marlena, a former advisor to Education Minister Manish Sisodia, or any other official of the Delhi Government, on this despite several messages and calls.