Srinagar, Oct 19: Students of Upper Primary School (UPS) in Gujarnar village of Kupwara district are facing a severe accommodation crunch, as authorities have seemingly been inattentive to their predicament.
The cause of this accommodation shortage stems from the damaged state of a three-roomed school building, which was exposed as a result of heavy rainfall in 2016 when the newly constructed building was fully damaged due to land sliding.
Despite nearly eight years having passed since the initial damage occurred, the school building has remained unattended by the education department. This unfortunate neglect has left students without proper classrooms and has hindered their educational progress.
This school is located in the remote interior of Gujarnar village within the Mawar education zone.
In 2016, the entire three-roomed building was damaged due to a landslide. The devastation was caused by a large tree that was uprooted during the landslide, which led to severe structural damage to the school building.
Shockingly, the building had been sanctioned for construction in 2013 at a cost of Rs 14 lakhs, but it was damaged even before it could be handed over to the school authorities.
Established as a Primary School by the state government in 1995, this educational institution was upgraded to an Upper Primary School (UPS) in 2009 under the erstwhile centrally sponsored scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
A visit to the school site reveals a concerning oversight by the department. The construction of the damaged building was allowed on a foothill of the village, without the erection of proper boundary walls to mitigate the risk of landslides and potential damage to the building and students.
The locals have expressed their concern, stating that given the location of the construction site, the contractor should have erected underground pillars before starting brickwork on it.
“But the department allowed the construction on a foothill without even erecting boundary walls around the construction site. The building has been erected in violation of the SSA norms set for construction of school buildings,” a local said.
According to the locals, the department allowed the contractor to proceed with construction, essentially putting the lives of students at risk. Before the upgrade, the school operated from a three-room single-story building, which, despite its size, experienced cracks due to minor landslides. The building was eventually deemed unusable.
Furthermore, the building was declared unsafe by authorities after the newly constructed building sustained damage. The impact from the damage extended to this older building, and it was subsequently deemed hazardous.
The school provides classes up to the 8th grade, including a KG section, with only three available rooms for students. Consequently, due to the lack of space, students are often forced to conduct their lessons outdoors.
In response to the school’s ongoing struggle, students from the 6th to 8th grades have been relocated to a nearby High School in Rangpath village, further highlighting the accommodation crisis.
An official from the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Kupwara has acknowledged the issue, promising to send a team to the school to assess the situation firsthand. “We are aware of the issue. Efforts will be made to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” (KNO)
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