Private school buses on strike in Maharashtra today

4,500 schools decided to go on strike including 2,000 school buses across the state

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Even after the state education department gave assurance, over 4,500 private school owners in the state have decided to go ahead with their one-day strike on Monday which includes 2,000 school buses. The Federation of Schools Association of Maharashtra (FSAM) is protesting due to the delayed Right To Education (RTE) admission repayment, school safety guidelines and to demand action against parents who default on fee payment.

School education minister Vinod Tawde on Friday said that the state was releasing ₹407 crore as reimbursements for admissions done under the RTE Act, the concern of principals being held responsible for accidents on school buses has already been rectified in the past and that instructions on safety issued by the Supreme Court were already given out to all schools and junior colleges in the state. However, the group refused to take back its protest stating that they haven’t been informed about the minister’s announcement through the government machinery.

"None of the senior officials were aware of the announcement. Additionally, out of ₹407 crore, ₹300 crore has been released in the past. So the dues aren’t still cleared,” said Rajendra Singh, representative of Independent English Schools Association. It is learned that a total 2,000 school buses could be off the roads during the agitation on Monday.

This is, however, less than 25 per cent of the total number of buses on roads. Besides, school vans, which are in large numbers and operate in every nook and corner of the city, will be operational throughout the day, sources said. 

School Bus Owners’ Association’s Anil Garg said that the bus owners will show unanimity with the school associations which will agree to participate in the strike on Monday whereas the private unaided schools have called for a bandh in view of the unjustifiable government rules and regulations including problems faced by bus operators. Schools which will be closed due to the strike will not get the bus service however bus services will be provided to schools who are not participating in the strike.

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