99-Year-Old School Caught In Centre, Delhi Government Tussle Over Land

The Ministry of Defence said the Delhi government's Directorate of Education (DoE) has maintained that the army should either make available an alternate land for the school or give a no-objection certificate for its construction at the same site.

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99-Year-Old School Caught In Centre, Delhi Government Tussle Over Land

The Delhi government has sought for construction of the school at the same site (Representational)


New Delhi: 

The centre has told the Delhi High Court that it was concerned over the safety of children studying in a 99-year-old school in New Delhi, whose building is in a dilapidated state and urged the AAP government to relocate it.

The Ministry of Defence said the Delhi government's Directorate of Education (DoE) has maintained that the army should either make available an alternate land for the school or give a no-objection certificate for its construction at the same site.

The Delhi government has sought for construction of the school at the same site to avoid any possible inconvenience to the students, it said.

Rajputana Rifles Heroes Memorial Senior Secondary School at Delhi Cantonment, which was built on the land belonging to the Ministry of Defence was taken over by the Delhi administration in August 1975 and is getting full assistance from the state government.

The centre's submission were made in an affidavit in regard to a PIL by NGO Social Jurist, which has alleged that the school was in a horrible condition.

The matter is listed for hearing on January 17 before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao.

The centre's affidavit stated as per the directions of the court, a meeting was convened on November 28 between the the Army and the Directorate of Education and various issues including alternate site for school building, availability of land with the Army for relocation and interim measures were discussed.

"During the deliberations in the meeting, the Army delegation raised the issue of unavailability of land for relocation of the school... The Army delegation also stressed on the non-habitable condition of the school building, as also indicated in the report of the Garrison Engineer submitted earlier," it said.

It added that the army raised concerns about the safety of students and teachers of the school and requested DoE for their relocation at the earliest.

The affidavit said the army also gave a list of schools running under the administration of the Delhi government and the Cantonment Board and various public schools located in close proximity where the students and teachers could be shifted.

The high court had earlier asked the AAP government by when it could shift students from the school and had asked it to file a status report and the time frame for repairing or reconstructing the building, saying that it was concerned over the safety of the children.

The DoE earlier told the court that a joint inspection of the building had revealed that it was constructed in 1919 and has outlived its useful life and was unsuitable for habitation.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, appearing for the NGO, had earlier said around 450 students are studying in the school and they have been unjustly deprived of adequate physical infrastructure and academic faculty to educate them.

The plea has said though the school is open for all, it mainly caters to the children of servants of military officials who are not in a position to educate their kids in private schools.

It has alleged that the school lacks basic amenities, including potable drinking water, functional toilets, science and computer labs, clean classrooms and proper boundary wall and several posts of teaching staff are lying vacant.

The petition has sought direction that the existing building be demolished and rebuilt as a state-of-the-art school.



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