Pune: In an attempt to clean up their image and cash in on the bleak scenario after the recent child sexual abuse cases, the rickshaw panchayat held a meeting on Tuesday. Pune police commissioner Satish Mathur who was present at the meeting, claimed that auto-rickshaws are safe for school children. He said, “There are hardly incidents of molestation involving auto-rickshaw drivers. This is one of the most of positive things about this particular mode of transport. However, I appeal to the parents to check details of the drivers irrespective of the mode of transport in which their children are travelling.”
Rickshaw Panchayat president Baba Adhav said, “There is not a single case where any school girl has been harassed by an auto-rickshaw driver. Moreover there are hardly any cases of accident.”
Parents, students speak up
Majority of the parents were concerned about the safety of their children, and had demanded school authorities should carry out character verification of the driver. Students were also present and raised issues that they face when travelling on such school transport vehicles.
Shruti Waghmare student of class V said, “Most of the time school vans and auto-rickshaws are overcrowded, and it becomes difficult to sit comfortably.”
Gautami Kamble, student of class VII said, “There have been instance when the auto-rickshaw has narrowly-escaped accidents. However, this is not the case with all of them, The auto-rickshaw in which I am travelling now, is much safe and the driver of the vehicle also helps us cross roads.”
Parents claims that the school authority should ensure that the driver of school transport vehicle does not have any criminal background. Prashant Gaikwad (35), resident of camp said, “School authorities should do a background check, which will ensure safety for our children.”
Satish Singh (38), resident of Kothrud said, “With the backdrop of the incidents, I really feel scared to send my child in a school transport vehicle. But being a working couple, we have no other option.”