Baramulla: The government high school in Andergam in Pattan area of Baramulla district is surrounded by dirty water and in front of it is a big cesspool. In this cesspool all the dirty water from the school ground and from the nearby streets collects. The dirty water has now accumulated higher than the ground level of the school. Students and teachers are unable to reach the classrooms. They use logs of wood and boulders to cross the cesspool and reach the school veranda.
Ghulam Mohammad, a local of the area, said, “There is a big pit in front of this new school building. It has been there since the date of its construction. All the waste water from the nearby areas assembles in the pit and it has turned the school into a veritable island surrounded by dirty water. Last year we approached officers of the education department but they only assured us of solving the problem, and later forgot it.”
A teacher at the school said, “This dirty environment can cause a disease any time. We informed higher officials many times but they are not paying any attention. There are 37 students of Class 8 to Class 10 in this high school, but because of the cesspool, parents do not want to put the health of their children in danger.”
Abdul Rashid, another local of the area, said that the pit was formed when the construction of the school building began. The earth was dug and since then the ground has remained dug up. “The cesspool is not only a problem for the school,” he said. “There are three damaged old school buildings near the new building and the education department was supposed to demolish them years ago. These damaged buildings are providing shelter to stray dogs and other animals that are another threat to the school children. We are demanding a fence around the school and its playground but the government is not even cleaning the cesspool in front of the school.”
When contacted, Chief Education Officer (CEO) Baramulla, Mushtaq Ahmad said, “Yes, I know about the problem of this school. I will contact the headmaster of the school and if need be, we will take help from the R&B (Roads & Buildings) department for filling up the pit.”