LEAST PRIORITY: Reconstruction of damaged schools, colleges yet to start

Despite the passage of one year, the state government has failed to start the construction work of the school and college buildings which were completely damaged in the last year’s floods.
LEAST PRIORITY: Reconstruction of damaged schools, colleges yet to start
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Despite the passage of one year, the state government has failed to start the construction work of the school and college buildings which were completely damaged in the last year's floods.

The government instead has slashed down the estimated cost of the damaged school buildings from Rs 90 crore to Rs 10 crore, even which is yet to be released to the department.

Post floods, the schools were made functional temporarily through make-shift arrangements by hiring of private buildings and construction of tin sheds.

Even if the education minister authorized the concerned chief education officers (CEOs) and school heads to utilize the local funds for 'face lifting' of the affected schools, much needs to be done to rebuild the devastated education infrastructure in the valley.

As per the departmental figures, around 1096 buildings of Primary, Middle, High and Higher Secondary schools were damaged in the floods.

In Srinagar district, 63 schools were declared unsafe by the roads and buildings department out of which 59 were shifted to other schools however the department is yet to start the repair work on the damaged schools.

"157 rented and 65 owned school buildings were affected by flood waters, however no funds have been received to start repair of fully and partially damaged schools," reveals the officials document.

Of the total, around 427 buildings of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) primary schools, 48 Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) middle schools and 20 buildings of High and Higher Secondary schools were fully damaged in the floods.

The partially damaged buildings include 481 SSA Primary schools, 49 RMSA Middle schools and 71 High and Higher Secondary schools.

Officials said the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) projected a demand for an amount of Rs 90.29 crores including 68.32 crore for SSA schools and 8.97 crore for RMSA schools, before the government to reconstruct the fully and partially damaged buildings. "Assessment was done by the team of officials from revenue, R&B and education department, but government has not released a single penny so far," officials said.

On the other hand, the government, according to officials has asked the directorate to prepare estimates of major damages and to shelve the schools which were damaged partially.

"The revised estimates worth Rs 43 crore were made and presented before the government but the department was further asked to prioritize the damages and slash down the amount to only Rs 10 crore," official said, adding, "But we have not received any amount yet."

He said the department prepared the estimates for fully damaged Higher Secondary schools while as rest was kept pending for next year. "We expect that work on rest of the schools will be taken in next financial year," the official said.

The devastating floods left 17 schools submerged in central Kashmir's Ganderbal district while as 12 schools were left unsafe for schooling. 157 schools were partially damaged in South Kashmir's Pulwama district and 99 school buildings were damaged in Kulgam district.

Also 30 schools in Anantnag education zone and 11 in Bijbehara education zone were declared unfit for schooling.

HIGHER EDUCATION:

The deluge caused partial and permanent damages to various degree colleges in the valley.

Following the damages the class work in these colleges was suspended for a prolonged time.

With the passage of time the heads of the colleges were authorized to start the temporary restoration of the colleges by utilizing the available local fund however the permanent restoration of the damaged infrastructure is yet to be started.

On basis of the estimates submitted by the colleges, the department of Higher Education had projected an amount of Rs 159 crore for reconstruction of the buildings and procurement of other infrastructure in the flood-hit colleges.

Officials however said the government rejected the proposal and asked the department to raise their demand for only construction work. "We were asked to shelve the procurement cost which will be taken in coming future," officials said.

He said the revised cost worth Rs 98 crore for construction worth has been projected before the government however no funds were released till date.

Officials said the floods had damaged the laboratories and libraries in most of the colleges, but the government refused to include their estimates. "Most of colleges don't have the equipments in their laboratories and sans books in their libraries as well. But government has ignored the procurement of these equipments in the colleges," the officials said.

Minister for education Naeem Akhtar said the government has done some restoration work on flood-affected colleges and schools in city while as major uplift will be done during winter vacations.

"We have restored SP School, SP College, Amar Singh College, MA road College and Bemina College which were completely devastated by floods. We will take up major works in winters as these days we can't disturb the ongoing academic session," Naeem Akhtar said.

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