School bus operators seek help from Association, Chandigarh: The Tribune India
Tribune press service
Chandigarh, May 9
With an outbreak of Covid-19 cases forcing schools to remain closed, the Chandigarh School Bus Operators Welfare Association (Tricity) today asked for help from the UT administration and the Association of Independent Schools (ISA).
The association, with a fleet of nearly 1,200 buses and more than 3,000 members, struggles to make ends meet as the school continues to operate online.
Association leader Manjeet Singh said the parents had paid the fees for the current session, but had not paid a single penny for transportation costs over the past year.
“We wrote to ISA and have now started asking for schools individually. We are looking for their help in obtaining a loan. We survived on our savings, but now things are getting worse, ”said Manjeet Singh.
“Without clear instructions on starting offline courses, we don’t know when we will resume our operations,” he said.
Manjeet said that despite significant losses, operators are now receiving notifications from banks.
“We have taken out large loans to purchase these buses and modernize them from time to time as instructed by the schools and the UT administration. Since we don’t earn a penny, how could we repay our loans? Manjeet asked.
“As the Covid crisis worsens, we don’t see schools starting offline lessons anytime soon. It’s really scary, ”he said.
The association claimed to have suffered losses worth Rs 6.5 crore since April 2020.
“We expected school buses to be operating on city roads in April of this year. However, all of our plans have turned away, ”the president said.
“The government waived our taxes until June 2021, but under the current circumstances we are asking for an extension,” he added.
“Since March 25, 2020, school buses have remained off the road. But our commitments, including payments, insurance and staff salaries, continue to weigh on us, ”he said.
The association demanded that schools come forward to help them.
Parents or schools should pay at least 50 percent of the transportation costs in recent months, the association demanded.