Classroom on wheels! After HC rap, KSRTC may lend unused buses to schools, colleges

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Thiruvananthapuram: Even as the cash-strapped Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is struggling to optimally utilise its entire fleet of buses, several low-floor ones are rusting in depots. In response to criticism against such wastage of public property, the transport minister has proposed lending out the unused low-floor buses for use as classrooms.

Transport Minister Antony Raju said that only the low-floor buses which are not in operation will be given out for use as classrooms. Two buses have been already sanctioned for this purpose at the Government Teachers' Training Institute at Manacaud.

He said all schools and educational institutions who wish to use the facility would be provided with low- floor buses. 

More than 300 low-floor buses were in service earlier. Of these over 100 buses are no longer in use. Among the rest several are not in an operational condition.

The KSRTC authorities claimed that these buses were idling since it does not have staff with the technical know-how to carry out their maintenance. The high court had recently lashed out at the KSRTC authorities for allowing such costly buses to idle.

It was Education Minister V Sivankutty who mooted the idea of converting the abandoned buses into classrooms. The transport minister accepted his Cabinet colleague’s suggestion immediately.

Once the scheme becomes up and running, all future maintenance of the vehicle will be the responsibility of the institution which uses it for classroom purposes.

Meanwhile, the staff unions in KSRTC have come out against the minister’s experimentation with the low-floor buses. KSTEA general secretary M G Rahul said the minister should explore the possibility of selling off the unused buses and earning profit for the Corporation. 

Two buses which had been lent to the Kudumbasree for the "Shops on wheel" scheme could not yield the desired results, Rahul said.

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