The PM has called upon the protesting students to return to their classes, to where they belong. We appreciate the appeal and reiterate her feelings because it is not desirable that students should be on the streets rather than where they ought to be. But while echoing her sentiments, we feel compelled to ask a very fundamental question and seek an answer as to why the students are on the streets and not in their classrooms in the first place.
It is clear but needs restating that the reaction of the students is the manifestation of a helpless and hapless majority at the mercy of a very powerful few. Helpless because of a system gone completely haywire, compounded by the unwillingness of those responsible to address and cure the ills of the transport sector virtually abdicating their responsibility.
In the same address, the PM has referred to road safety and improvement of road infrastructure in the country and all that her government has done in this regard. That is all very well and good but merely improving the facilities would not cure the flaws which have come to be embedded in the system and became the norm. The statistics that this paper carried yesterday in first page speak volumes about the disorder in this sector. Who will explain why nearly half the vehicles on the roads are unregistered, and why the number of license issued is a third of the registered vehicles.
We would suggest that alongside the improvement of infrastructure, the central flaws like untrained and unlicensed drivers and unfit and unregistered vehicles on the roads require urgent cure. Thus the BRTA must employ all its resources and funds, seek more of both from the government if need be, and work on a war footing and a precise time-bound plan to filter all the unfit vehicles and unlicensed drivers, among the several important flaws, to restore some modicum of sanity in this sector, and thereby ensure more safety of the passengers and pedestrians.