SRINAGAR: Every morning, students of Vasanta Girls High School wait on one edge of Nai Sadak, the road in front of their school at Kral Khud in Srinagar, asking help from passers-by to cross to the other side. For the last one month, the road has been an open drain, submerged in rain water mixed with sewerage from surrounding areas. Instead of Srinagar’s municipality, these students, and sometimes their teachers, find help from motorists – bikers, load carrier drivers, and auto-rickshaw walas.
“We request people to take us inside the school. Sometimes they take pity on us,” Vijay Kaul, principal of the school, told Kashmir Reader. “Whenever it rains, we have to face this (problem)”. Many, who do not get a ride, make their way back to home. “We can’t wade through the water as it is dirty and deep,” said Noora, a parent who came to drop his daughter to the school.
Faulty drainage system in the area of is shambles, local residents say. Water inundates the road outside the school every time it rains and students are left with few options that to tread through water or seek help.
The school authorities have approached the nearby police station and concerned MLA, but no action was taken. Kaul said, “We want a permanent solution to this. Till that, we should be provided a boat or anything for the convenience of my students and staff.”
Teachers at the school call it a public embarrassment. “Waiting on roads doesn’t look good. People make fun of us and pass comments. We have to deal with it daily. Now it feels bad to go to school,” said Jasir, a teacher.
The decades old school caters to an underprivileged section of society, teachers say. “Closing the school won’t yield any good result. In 2016, students lost a considerable part of their academics year, taking a toll on their progress,” said Sheema, another teacher. “The students of this school do not come from economically well off families, where will they go?”.
Dr Shafqat Khan, SMC Commissioner, told Kashmir Reader assured immediate action. “I will visit the school and ensure immediate solution to the problem.”