The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has asked the Uttarakhand government to renovate the neglected and crumbling school buildings on a priority basis during the summer holidays.
“There must be at least 500-600 school buildings from the primary to intermediate level in the state which are either without a roof or whose walls are about to cave in, putting the lives of students at risk. But the successive governments have done nothing to solve the problem,” CPCR chairman Yogendra Khanduri said.
Khanduri said that the child rights panel had received around 400 complaints schools being run in buildings which are old and wearing off in Uttarakhand, risking the lives of many. He even mentioned that a building had recently collapsed in Pithoragarh district claiming many lives, while a young school girl was killed in Tehri district’s Kirtinagar area last year when the walls of her school toilet collapsed. The situations of dilapidated school buildings are expected to worsen with the advent of monsoon, so a proper inspection of the matter is necessary.
In attempts to ensure security to children, the commission had drawn the attention of the state education department to the problem on many occasions but the authorities always expressed their incompetence to address the issue, complaining of a shortage of funds.
“Finally I was forced to write a letter to the chief secretary yesterday as the final responsibility is his, with all departments coming under him. I have asked him to do something about it urgently as the welfare of children should be on top of any government’s agenda. I have requested him to allocate funds to the state education department and have the damaged school buildings repaired on priority. The 1.5 months of summer holidays will be the ideal time to repair or reconstruct them as they will be vacant during the period,” he said.
Further adding that funds crunch could never be an excuse for endangering the lives of children.