Shillong, March 22: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday revealed that a large number of schools in the state are not interested in running school bus services.
Although the introduction of the Sustainable Transport and Efficient Mobility Society (STEMS) program was aimed at minimizing traffic congestion in Shillong through shared school bus services, most schools consider it a complicated process and prioritize their primary job of teaching, the Chief Minister said during the Question Hour on the third day of the Budget Session.
He also added that the government faced difficulties in implementing school buses run by the schools administration.
Also Read: Opposition Congress raises concerns over damaged roads in Meghalaya
Despite the schools’ reluctance, the government has conducted extensive consultations, including over 100 meetings and 6,000 to 7,000 surveys. As a result, the government has decided to handle the responsibility of the program to government-registered societies. The Chief Minister clarified that the option of giving it to schools is still open, but the government must start somewhere, and this is the best way to begin. He also said that the government will evaluate the program’s effectiveness and may consider giving it to schools if it fails to work.
He also shared that 15 schools in the Laitumkhrah-Dhankheti area have signed an MoU with the government to avail the School Bus services. If this model is successful, the government will adopt it in other parts of the state. The Chief Minister also mentioned that around 27,000 students come to schools in Laitumkhrah-Dhankheti, and nearly 60% of them use private transportation.
He further explained that despite many discussions with stakeholders such as schools, parents, police, and government administration, coordinating with schools to start bus services was difficult.