Pvt schools not to ply buses from Mar 1

Parents asked to arrange alternative transport

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Feb 15: Due to the increased financial burden and with apparently no relief from the Government, the private schools across Kashmir have decided not to ply their buses as the schools are set to open from March 1.
There are at least 2700 such private schools that have unanimously taken the decision owing to the indifferent attitude of the Government in addressing their issues that they are struggling with for the last two years.
It is to be noted here that several schools even terminated the services of their bus drivers earlier last year stating that they were not in a position to pay their salaries, while few continued to pay the half of it.
The decision by the Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK)-which is likely to have wider repercussions- came as the Government ordered the reopening private as well as Government schools after remaining shut since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The representatives of the PSAJK said that almost all the schools in Kashmir are under financial distress due to the situation of the last two years.
G N Var, President PSAJK told Excelsior that the transport sector has been rendered unviable to operate as the majority of the schools have not been able to collect the transport charges which have made plying the buses difficult for them.
“In this regard, a unanimous decision has been taken of not to ply the buses as the schools reopen; while we have nothing, we continue to pay taxes and incur expenses on maintaining the transport fleet against zero income,” he said.
He added that the High Court had directed the Government to take a view of problems faced by the schools, in response to which the Government said that it has formed a committee headed by Advisor Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar, “but nothing is being done, while many funds have lapsed but the same have not been used to boost the schools that have suffered.”
The Association has blamed the Government for its indecisiveness in addressing the issues of the schools particularly the transportation.
Var said that they don’t ask the Government to compensate them, provide help to those people through DBT who are not able to pay for the education of their children.
As per the representatives of the Association, they have been repeatedly requesting the Government to take a final decision with regard to transportation fee charged from students.
“The Court too had directed the Government to take a view on this issue. But till date, the Government has not taken any call on the subject leaving both students and parents in limbo,” the Association said.
The Association impressed that it is a reality that both parents and schools have suffered during these trying times “but schools had to take a call on the transport facility as this service demands day to day costs to operate.”
The PSAJK has asked the parents to arrange the transport facility for their wards on their own. “For pick-and-drop of the children, the parents should make some suitable arrangements and save themselves from the last-minute hassle.”