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January 6, 2019

Crackdown on school vehicles fitted with gas cylinders starts tomorrow


January 6, 2019

Expressing concerns on the illegal installation of LPG and CNG cylinders in school vans, Karachi Traffic Police chief DIG Javed Ali Mehar has ordered his subordinates to launch a crackdown against all violators on Monday (tomorrow).

Talking to The News, DIG Mehar said on Saturday that the order had already been issued a long time ago, as well as a notification by the Sindh transport secretary, regarding the removal of gas cylinders from school vans.

The officer said that the same directives had been issued to the traffic police, telling them to check all the vehicles carrying schoolchildren, as well as to remove any LPG cylinders found and challan the drivers.

Despite the orders, however, his subordinates have been negligent, which is why he has suspended the section officer of the Orangi Town kiosk, in whose jurisdiction four kids were injured when the hiroof van taking them to school caught fire in the morning. The DIG has also issued show-cause notices to other traffic officials.

Mehar has also issued strict orders to his subordinates to launch a crackdown on all school vans and intercity buses fitted with LPG cylinders, as it is illegal to install them in transport vehicles.

The directives include immediately removing such cylinders if found in any of the school vans, fining the drivers and impounding their vehicles. The orders also include checking the vehicles using inappropriate CNG cylinders without certificates, immediately removing such cylinders and impounding the vehicles.

A few months ago, a letter was moved to the transport department with the title ‘Proposal for imposition of ban on usage of CNG cylinders in school and college transport’.

The letter read: “This is with reference to the notification issued by the transport & mass transit department regarding the imposition of a ban on the usage of CNG in intercity buses.

“In this context, it is to apprise that during a meeting with the officers of the transport and revenue departments that was convened in the office of the undersigned regarding safety measures for school buses and vans, it was revealed that a summary was moved to the competent authority for imposing a complete ban on the usage of CNG as fuel in public transport.

“However, in the first phase, the transport department imposed a ban on the usage of CNG in intercity buses. It is pertinent to mention here that the use of CNG and LPG as fuel by school and college vehicles is a serious threat to the lives of schoolchildren as experienced in the tragic incidents that had occurred in Gujrat and Nawabshah.

“Keeping in view the above circumstances, it is requested that partial modification be made in the earlier notification issued by the transport department, imposing a ban therein on the usage of CNG and LPG as fuel in school and college vehicles purely for the safety of schoolchildren.”

The Sindh Transport Department has also issued a notification in this regard. It reads: “In partial modification of this department’s notification, after the word ‘CNG’ wherever appearing, the word ‘LPG’, and after the words ‘public service vehicles’ wherever appearing, the words ‘school and college vehicles’ are hereby added with immediate effect.”

Another notification by the transport & mass transit department reads: “In exercise of the powers conferred by the Provincial Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 1965, the Government of Sindh proposes to make the following amendments in the Motor Vehicle Rules, 1969.

“Section 73-A is amended in the Motor Vehicle Rules, which states: ‘Regulation and control of vehicles, contract carriages owned and managed by private colleges/schools. No vehicles owned or managed by schools or colleges for students shall operate without obtaining route permit and fitness certificate, and undergoing the process of commercial vehicles and contract carriages as laid down in these Rules.

“A college or school vehicle or contract carriage shall adopt the yellow colour coding scheme to distinguish from other vehicles plying the road; ensure the availability of an attendant for the facilitation and safety of students; have an emergency exit, in case of a bus or van; install therein a fire extinguisher; not be overloaded by students; not use LPG as fuel or an oxygen cylinder.”

The rules ask for complying with the conditions of Rule-199 in case of a CNG vehicle; along with holding the school management responsible for any incident.

They also ask that the vans and buses “have sliding doors in order; not keep fuel cans or any combustible materials in the vehicle; not allow any person to smoke in the vehicle; the vehicle must be examined by a motor vehicle examiner after every six months; not be allowed any kind of alteration, conversion or seating capacity; maintain a complaint book in the vehicle; not be allowed renewal by the excise & taxation department without verification of fitness documents and undertake third party insurance.

“The college and school management shall verify and maintain the record of each college and school vehicle and its staff in terms of sub-rule (2) and shall not allow any vehicle to operate in contravention of these rules.”

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