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Muscat: Indian schools to change timing
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 Sangeetha Sridhar, Dr.Rajan Philips, Hasan Kamoonpuri
Newspapers: Times of Oman, Oman Observer, Oman Tribune, The Week


By Kabeer Yousuf -MUSCAT — Indian School Muscat (ISM), the largest community school in Oman, and Indian School Darsait (ISD) will brace for revised school timings with a view to reduce traffic bottlenecks around this area starting from June 1, 2013, as was learnt from a meeting attended by key Royal Oman Police (ROP) officials and the heads of the institutions

Accordingly, the revised timings will be either from 6.30 am or from 9 am or both dividing higher and lower classes as the office-goers hit the road at 6.45 am and the traffic is very high on all sides till 8.30 am with people heading for work. But as far as the school authorities are concerned, chances are highly in favour of 6.30 am.

Around 7,000 different nationalities, majority of them Indian, study in ISM while 2,000 students are with ISD. The schools start at 7 am and ends at 2 pm for senior classes while they are 8 am and 1 pm for junior classes.
A high-level meeting to be attended by the school authorities, ROP personnel, the local wali and other representatives of students and parents bodies to give final shape to the decision will take place at the ISM premises today.
“Between 4,000 to 5,000 vehicles are commuting up and down the ISM and ISD every morning and a lesser number in the afternoon on all week days," Col Mansoor Habib al Rahbi of Muttrah Police Station told the Observer.
“The timings of the school coincide with the public and private office timings and this is posing a great threat to commuters, neighbours, officials of Muscat Municipality and others who use these roads everyday."
Other senior ROP officials, Said Ali al Jabri and Hilal Abdulla al Katheri were also present at the meeting. He added that a number of suggestions have been put forth before the school managements for their consideration. These points include making the ISM road one-way and closing the road that leads to ISM for parents to the flyover, and so on.
“We are here to help them resolve the issue without harming the interest of the public. Accordingly, a number of suggestions are made by both sides and we will work on them and will be discussed in today’s meeting," he added.

Some of the key suggestions include:
The timings of both schools should be changed from 7 am to 6.30 am or 9am.
No parents can drop or pick up their children at the school, instead they will be picked up by school buses from the nearby Lulu Hypermarket parking. Vehicles bringing children should follow the ROP regulations from today.
Students from far off places like Fanja, Qurayat, etc should be provided with special timings in the future. Absolutely no direct way from ISM to ISD is permitted; instead, parents from ISM should exit through the Muscat Municipality road to the main road, then take Al Falaj roundabout, U-turn and come back to ISD.
The wadi road opposite the ISD will be closed during the school beginning and ending times as part of the traffic regulations.

The new regulations come in less than one week after the annual ISD carnival got cancelled after the neighbours objected to that in the wake of huge traffic congestion when not less than 30,000 cars occupied the roads around the school last Friday. However, the school Board of Directors (BoD) is to discuss various ways to address traffic snarl that has a toll on the office-goers.

“There have been several suggestions to reduce the traffic around the schools and we are to discuss them at the Board meeting soon”, Tonny Alexander, Chairman of the Board of Directors said.

ISM representatives Achuthan Madhav, Principal; Rupesh Yasvant, Convenor; Satheesh Kumar J, Operations Manager; and Saji S Nair, Assistant Vice Principal, ISD were present at the meeting.

“This is the first such change in the recent history of the ISM and changing the schools timings is not a small thing. We all need to work on the modalities of its implementation and curricula plans”, Achuthan Madhav, Principal, ISM told the Observer, adding, “However, we all will work hard to abide by the rules and regulations of the ROP and we hope the parents will cooperate with us”.

The new routing that will be implemented from today will be as following:
New routing:

1- Parents from Ruwi side heading ISM should take U-turn at the Lulu signal, enter from the Municipality road then turn left at Abu Ammar supermarket to reach ISM. They should exit through the road opposite Noor Masjid and then to the main road via the municipality on their left side.
2- Those who are from Qurum side heading ISM should take U-turn at the Lulu roundabout and enter Darsait via Municipality on their right hand side and follow the 1st route for drop off and pick up, and to exit.
3- Those who are from the Darsait beach side should not take right from the junction of Noor Masjid; instead, they should exit via the flyover and then enter Darsait via the municipality on their right hand side and follow the 1st point for drop off and pick up, and to exit.

1- Parents from Ruwi side heading ISD should turn left after the Lulu signal, and then enter beside the flyover and then straight to ISD. After dropping the children, they should go further down and then take u-turn and come back. They should not take the right exit at the Noor Masjid; instead, they should exit via the flyover.
2- Those who are from Qurum side heading ISD should take U-turn at the Lulu signal and enter Darsait under the flyover and follow the 1st route for drop off, pick up and exit.
However, there were proposals from ISD about the school closing by June 20 and to apply the reform after its reopening mid-August. However, the ROP officials differed on the idea saying this can be discussed in the todya’s meeting but the traffic regulation will take place with immediate effect.

( Courtesy: )

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