MUMBAI: The right to have motorable roads should be made integral to right to education, says a PIL, highlighting the "nightmare" of children who have to walk through a 500-metre stretch to attend their school in Aarey Milk Colony, Goregaon (East). BEST has refused to ply buses on the stretch, saying it is risky as the road is narrow and uneven.
The PIL, filed on August 19 in the Bombay high court by activist Ketan Tirodkar, says the students of the municipal school, which has a strength of 2,500, are exposed to leopard attacks. He has referred to deaths of children, including the October 1, 2013, death of Prakash Salunkhe (14), who was mauled by a leopard while returning from school.
The petition seeks criminal action against errant BEST and BMC officials for negligence, compensation for families of the deceased children and direction to the forest department to fence off the school.
Tirodkar's petition says it is "very shameful" of BEST to express helplessness when its patron body, the BMC, has a large, autonomous budget. "In the last three years, the BMC has spent Rs 100 crore to fill potholes and Rs 3,000 crore on repairing roads," the PIL states.
The time has come to introduce 'Right to Travel in Public Transport' as a fundamental right, to enforce the 'Right to Education', it states. "That is, further to say, the right to have travelable roads should be made an integral part of the Right to Education."