Two years on, authorities fail to rebuild gutted school building

Baramulla: The students and staff at Government Higher Secondary School (Boys) Baramulla Wednesday accused the authorities of failing to rebuild a part of the school building, gutted in a fire incident two years ago.
At least a dozen class rooms, principal’s chamber and the library were completely damaged when a massive fire broke out in the main building of the school on January 24, 2013.
Since then, the school authorities said, that no initiative was taken by the administration to rebuild the damaged building.
“Time and again we were promised by both the education department authorities and the district administration that the building will be repaired within a given time frame, but no action has been taken so far,” an official at the school told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the school authorities had proposed to repair the damaged building out of its allotted development fund; however, the higher ups didn’t allow them to do so. “The school has a good amount of development fund but the higher officials don’t utilize these funds in building the necessary infrastructure,” the offiacil said.
Absence of much needed accommodation is affecting the students who said that they are being forced to attend classes in open. “Most of the times we take classes in the ground,” Sohail Ahmad, a student said.
The students said that non-availability of a library at the school was affecting their studies to a large extent. “Our main library damaged in the fire incident. There is no one alternative for us and we have buy books from the market,” he said.
When contacted, principal of the Higher Secondary School, Mehraj-ud-din Fafoo said that he had taken up the issue many a time with the authorities, however, nothing much has happened so far. “I joined as Principal at this institution last year and since then I have met the concerned district official as well as the civil society groups for helping us to repair the damaged building,” he said.
He said that a an estimate made by the R&B department  assessed that Rs 60 lakh will be required to repair the damaged building. “So far government has released only Rs four lakh. Recently, we cut down the poplar trees within the school premises and soon we will auction these trees and will start the repairing process,” he added.
“Moreover, we have been assured of every possible help by the deputy Commissioner Baramulla in this regard.”