Studying feasibility of school buses: Rymbui

Govt moves to ease city’s traffic woes

SHILLONG, May 13: Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui on Friday said a detailed study is being done on the proposal to introduce school buses to address the problem of traffic congestion in Shillong.
“As you are aware, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has already announced that the introduction of school buses may be the way forward to ease the traffic congestion,” Rymbui told reporters while reacting to the observation of the High Court of Meghalaya on the introduction of school buses.
The court had on Thursday heard a PIL on the city’s traffic issues and hoped the state would consider the suggestions provided by the parties that appeared.
One of the measures suggested was to ensure more school buses, particularly for the schools concentrated in the Laitumkhrah area. But the response received in this regard was of a low level.
“…It may do well for a responsible official from the state to meet parents and the school authorities and persuade parents to avail of the bus upon allaying their apprehensions as to security and delay. These visits have to be to each school. The state should also explore whether staggering the inflow and outflow of students in each school and staggering the timings of schools located in close proximity may ease the congestion in the locality,” a division bench had said in its order.
According to the court, the ultimate relief in easing the traffic situation in Shillong proper may come only if alternative systems are put in place.
Rymbui said a study is being carried out to find out if this proposal is feasible or not.
“The CM will take a concrete decision after receiving the report,” he said, adding that the study was being carried out by a consultant.
Rymbui said the government would not like the initiative of purchasing school buses to be a waste of public money.
Underlining the constraints of space in Shillong, he said it is important to have some idea of whether the introduction of school buses will lead to more traffic jams, which would defeat the objective of the proposal.
He wondered if it would be possible to make it mandatory for all schools to introduce bus service and for students to avail the same.
Rymbui cited the example of St. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School which has more than 1,000 students.
“The question is where this school has parking space for buses. St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School and St. Margaret’s Higher Secondary School have similar space issues,” he said.
On the concern of some parents about the safety of their wards, he said Kendriya Vidyalayas and some private schools have had school buses for a long time. “It is not a new thing,” he said.
Rymbui also said there was no guarantee that the shifting of schools from the prime locations would ease the traffic problem. “We also need to see if there is space to shift the schools,” he said.
The priority of the government was to ensure that traffic congestion does not occur in New Shillong Township where the administrative buildings are being shifted to.

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