Finally, J&K's un-electrified schools to light-up by year end

The decision to connect schools with power grid comes months after 12th grade students were forced to write examination under solar lights & candles, in bone-chilling conditions, on a dark cloudy day last November

After years of delay the school education department has finally initiated a process for electrification of all un-electrified government schools, from primary to higher secondary level, across the state. The department has taken up the matter with power development department (PDD) to chalk out plan for completion of electrification of all government-run schools by end of this year. The move comes barely three months after students of 12th grade were forced to write their annual examination papers under solar lights, smart phone torches and even candles, in bone-chilling condition, in November last year, on a dark cloudy day. The pictures of students writing the papers in under the torch lights and candles had gone viral on social media and left the school education department embarrassed. The inconvenience faced by the candidates due to the un-electrified government schools was a grim reminder about the lack of facilities in the schools across Jammu and Kashmir. Following the horrifying experience that students had to go, last week, the authorities at school education department had a detailed meeting with their counterparts from power development department (PDD) to chalk out the plan to achieve 100 percent electrification of all the government schools across the state. From the school education department side the meeting was attended by secretary school education and other senior official. The meeting was told that there are around 16,597 government schools- 10,817 primary, 5,410 middle, 350 high and 20 higher secondary schools without power connection. The PDD will soon start the process to provide connection to each left out school through electric meters. As per the minutes of the meeting, PDD will install 7 kw meters in each higher secondary school, 5 kw in high schools, 3 kw in middle school and 1 kw in primary schools. The department has also agreed to install service line along with MCB for which the cost will be reimbursed by school education department. “Concerned CEOs (chief education officers) will compile and provide category wise list of un-electrified schools to executive engineer concerned of PDD,” read the minutes. The concerned zonal education officers (ZEOs) have been asked to sign the electricity connection application form for each primary and middle school while as for electricity connection applications from high and higher secondary schools should be signed by concerned head of the institution. “All connections will be provided under government category. However all usage bills raised will be borne by school education department,” read the minutes. A senior official said though 527 government schools including 293 primary, 203 middle, 28 high and 03 higher secondary schools have already been provided electricity connection, for unknown reason they are not being supplied electricity. “All the education institutions will be covered under this fresh plan,” said the official. Confirming the development, secretary school education Ajit Kumar Sahu said the department will get all schools electrified. Besides, he said every educational institution will also be provided with a functional toilet and drinking water facility as well. “Ramps and construction of boundary walls is also our target and we will complete the process by end of this year,” he said. He said the 50 percent of the deficient schools will have proper furniture for students by the month of July while as 100 percent target will be completed by March 2020.