Pulwama/Shopian: Following the clubbing of schools in various areas, the vacant schools buildings which were left abandoned have turned into a hub of anti-social activities in many villages of South Kashmir.
Notably, the state government clubbed over 2000 schools following the reports of disproportionate student-teacher ratio in the schools across the state.
Sources informed that the government owned buildings, spared pre or post rationalization were proposed to be used for other activities of School Education department including Adult literacy centre and libraries.
However, the buildings due to the official apathy have turned into hub of illegal activities.
As per official records, 379 government schools including 248 rented schools were merged in the South Kashmir’s Anantnag district while as 269 schools were clubbed in Kulgam district.
210 schools including 115 rented schools were co-located in Pulwama district and 196 government schools including 130 schools operating from rented accommodations were clubbed in Shopian district, the records mentioned.
Sources said that a primary school in Naina Batpora was upgraded in 2009 and it was shifted to other place as there wasn’t enough land for a middle school to function properly.
According to the locals, the primary school building which was left deserted has became hub of drug addicts as they frequent the place.
“The drug addicts are using the deserted school building for their illicit activities,” said a teacher from Batpora village, adding that some locals are using these buildings to store fodder for their animals.
He added that government has utterly failed to curb this menace as not even a single step has been taken to stop the occurrences despite repeated pleads.
“This school building is in shambles now but it could have been protected and made productive by converting it into a library,” he said.
Another school building in Voter Pora village of Shopian district is lying vacant since 2010.
Locals said the school building has been left vacant due to the fear of ‘ghosts’. “The school building has been constructed over a graveyard and there was presence of ghosts in the school. The students were repeatedly falling sick following which the parents didn’t allow their wards to pursue their education in the school,” the locals said.
Officials of the Education department said that nobody wants to send their wards to the school hence is closed from last seven years as “we received complaints from parents about the presence of a ghost in the school.”
“We made arrangements to shift the school to a private building. But parents refused to send their children there, they said.
Similarly, the school buildings in Wahipora, Kawen Pulwama, Urpora Shopian and many other places have also been left deserted, which have also turned into hub of anti-social activities.
“We approached the department several times but unfortunately nothing has been done in this regard, the locals added.
Chief Education Officer (CEO) Shopian, M Sadiq Khan told Kashmir Vision that 55 school buildings are lying vacant in Shopian district and these buildings will be provided to social welfare department and nobody will be allowed to use them for any anti social activity.
Commenting over the unused structures and buildings Chief Education Officer (CEO) Pulwama, Mushtaq Ahmed said that there are 65 school buildings, which are lying vacant in Pulwama district. “It is up to the higher ups to take any decision regarding the deserted buildings,” he said.
He assured to take up the issue with higher ups so that the buildings are put to some use.