Fee hike necessary to follow safety norms, say Kolkata pool car owners

Owners of pool cars plying in the Salt Lake area have said that the fees need to be increased if they are to adhere to safety norms. They owners raised this demand at a sensitisation program for pool car owners was organised by the Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate at VIP Road on Sunday.

The program was organised by the police to make owners aware of the safety rules that must be followed while carrying school students. Concerns have been raised from among schools, guardians and police about the safety of children especially following the horrific accident last week of a pool car in Polba area of Hooghly district in which a child was killed and several injured. The vehicle carrying the children fell into a ditch.

At the sensitization meeting on Sunday, attended by pool car owners from Salt Lake, Baguiati, Lake Town, New Town and adjoining areas, police raised the issue of strict adherence to safety norms.

Guardians and the police have often accused pool cars of flouting the safety rules frequently putting the students’ lives to risk. At the program, a number of revised safety measures were read out to the vehicle owners. Such safety measures include keeping a fire extinguisher, a first-aid box and a list of students in the car along with the contact numbers of guardians among other measures. Police helpline numbers would be pasted on every pool cars from now on.
School authorities have been instructed to maintain valid documentary proofs of the pool car drivers.
Owners were instructed to switch to larger vehicles and were asked to not carry students over the maximum carrying capacity, but the owners said that they have to do so to keep up with the rising prices to run vehicles. They have also said that they board excess students as parents are unwilling to raise the per head fees.
Pool car owners were also asked to not board students of multiple schools together in the same car but the owners say it is impossible for them to practice it unless per head fees are raised.
Police authorities have said that they will conduct such sessions in schools for parents and school authorities as long term and foolproof measures are required.

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