Students Attend Classes In Worn Out School Buildings In Uttarakhand
Non-allocation of funds for the repair of a school building, badly damaged in 2013 flash- floods, has forced its authorities to hold classes in another less dilapidated school in Uttarkashi district. Nearly 500 school buildings are in dilapidated condition across the state. "We had to ask students studying at our primary school recently to attend their classes in the neighbouring Junior High School whose authorities were kind enough to spare someof their rooms for our students whose own classes at the primary school were inundated by rainwater as is the case every year during the rainy season," said Yashwant Singh Chouhan, the Principal of the primary school Beshti in Purola area of the district.
"Rain or no rain the school building which was badly damaged in the flashfloods of 2013 even otherwise is not in ausable condition with its ramshackle ceilings and walls threatening to collapse any moment", he said. When contacted Assistant block education officer, Purola, Dwarka Prasad Pandey, said the primary school at Beshti was "just one example."
"This is the condition of nearly 1.5 dozen schools in the block since the 2013 Uttarakhand disaster which caused extensive damage to concrete structures in the area," he said. An estimate of expenses to be incurred over the repair of these school buildings has been sent to the district education officer for sanction but the funds were yet to arrive, Pandey said.
"Once the fund is received work on these buildings will be taken up on a priority," he said. Chairman of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Yogendra Khanduri, said little has been done to improve the situation.
Khanduri had written to Chief Secretary S Ramaswamy in May this year asking him to do something immediately about the repair of nearly 500 dilapidated school buildings across the state.
"Some patch work here and there may have been done ever since I wrote to the government but 80 per cent of such buildings numbering around 500 continue to be in the same pathetic condition risking the lives of children," Khanduri told PTI.
"The state government offers the same old plea of lack of funds but from where does it bring all the money to blow up on offering the best of hospitality to its central leaders and advertising its programmes. This selective extravagance is hard to understand. From its attitude it seems safety of children is not on its priority list," he said. Khanduri said the Commission has received nearly 400 written complaints about schools being run in tumbledown structures in Uttarakhand.
Citing instances he said collapse of a school building in Pithoragarh district 2-3 years ago had killed some children whereas a young school girl was killed in Kirtinagar area of Tehri district last year when the walls of her school toilet collapsed over her.
Taking a serious view of the situation even Uttarakhand High Court had asked the state government last month to provide basic infrastructural requirements of state run schools within nine months and appealed to public sector and religious organisations to lend a helping hand in the exercise.
Giving the state government a time limit of nine months to improve the conditions in government schools, Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Alok Singh of the high court had directed that the basic amenities be given within the first six months and the next three months be utilised for providing other facilities such as school uniforms, heaters etc.
If the state government fails to implement the order within the given time limit top officials of the education department including the Principal and Deputy Secretaries of Education along with all the directors of the department will not be paid their salaries for the month of January 2018, the division bench of the high court had said.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)