By INSHA LATIEF
Khudwani (Kulgam): The schools functioning in unsafe and hazardous buildings are not an unusual site in Kashmir but even the offices overlooking the schools are not in a different state. The Zonal Education Office located at Basant Bagh in capital Srinagar is a glaring example. The decades old two-storey building has developed cracks in the walls.
Khair-un-Nisa, Zonal Education Officer said the building was unsafe. “What would I talk about space crunch the government schools face? Look at this building. I think the schools are in a good position than this,” he said.
Earlier the ZEO office was located at Kothi Bagh Middle School. The building suffered massive damage during the 2014 floods.
According to officials, after spending huge amount of money to renovate the building, the then Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar told officials to vacate the building and shifted them to Basant Bagh.
“This building was occupied by a government school at that time. Then we were allotted second storey. After the floods, the condition of this building was worst but we managed,” she said.
She said that she has approached the higher authorities for a better accommodation but there has not been any response. “At the time of earthquakes, the building shakes. I fear we will die with the collision of building,” she said.
The teachers working in the zone have to visit the office for official work. They said that they dread the thought of visiting the ZEO’s office because there is threat of falling down from the broken stairs. The teachers with health issues are worst sufferers.
Asifa, a teacher who is pregnant walks carefully when she approaches the ZEO office. “The stairs are broken. One has to walk very carefully,” she said adding that most of the teachers have to visit the office for one or the other reason.
“The building is old and decrepit. Even the lane outside is full of dirt. Spokesperson of the directorate of school education GN Shakir said that after floods, schools and offices of the education department suffered huge losses. “We have funds for renovating and constructing new buildings. We have renovated many schools and the process is going on. With due course of time, problem of space crunch will be resolved,” he said.