Monday August 15, 2022

Punjab govt won’t allow building of schools along highways

By Our Correspondent
November 30, 2021

LAHORE: In the wake of deaths of four schoolchildren in a traffic accident on a highway in Bahawalpur, the Punjab government has decided not to allow building of schools on the highways and main roads and issued instructions to all the divisional commissioners, regional police officers (RPOs) and relevant departments in this connection.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal at the Civil Secretariat Monday. The Inspector-General of Police Punjab, Additional IG Motorway Police, administrative secretaries of different departments including schools education, higher education, excise, commissioner Lahore Division, and officers concerned attended the meeting while divisional commissioners and RPOs participated through video link.

The chief secretary directed that signboards and cat’s eyes be installed near schools, hospitals, and parks located along highways and main roads. He said schools would be bound to deploy four road crossing assistants under the supervision of a duty teacher at the time of opening and closure of schools. He asked the officers to carry out a survey of all private schools near highways and main roads to identify the high-risk educational institutions. He said service roads and overhead bridges for pedestrians should be constructed wherever possible, besides making zebra crossings in front of all schools.

The chief secretary also directed the excise secretary to work out a policy regarding the registration of new vehicles before their delivery. He said fitness checks of light vehicles once a year and heavy vehicles twice a year would be made mandatory. He mentioned that driving without a licence is a crime, asking the police officers to launch a crackdown on violators. He further said the Bahawalpur accident is very unfortunate and prevention of such accidents is a collective responsibility.

The meeting also considered a proposal to increase the penalty for driving without a licence and to make it mandatory for two licence-holder drivers to drive heavy vehicles on highways. IG Punjab Rao Sardar Ali Khan suggested conducting traffic awareness week in schools. He directed the police officers to depute traffic wardens outside educational institutions at the time of closing of schools. The commissioner Bahawalpur Division briefed the meeting that according to the preliminary survey, 52 schools are located near highways and main roads in Bahawalpur and out of which 16 schools are located near highways and 36 near main roads.