Govt fails to reconstruct schools torched during 2016 unrest

Srinagar: Despite the passage of more than one year, the school education department is yet to start reconstruction and renovation of the school buildings torched by arsonists during the 2016 summer agitation.

As per the official figures, around 32 school buildings were partially and completely damaged after being put to flames by unidentified arsonists people across Kashmir.

“The school buildings were mostly attacked in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district which caused huge infrastructural loses to the department,” a top official said.

Of the total, 14 buildings were fully damaged while as 18 school buildings got partially damaged by the flames.

“Till date we have received Detailed Project Reports (DPR) of 21 schools which will be submitted to the government for release of funds,” Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo said.

He said the renovation work on rest of the 11 schools, which were partially damaged has been started by state government under district plan.

“These schools suffered minor damages and were repaired under district sector plan,”  he said.

The Director said the torching of schools resulted in financial implication of Rs 8 crore to the school education department.

“The funds for these schools will be released by planning department as the buildings have received major damages,” Itoo said.

He however, blamed the public works department for the delay in execution of work.

“There was a delay by PWD department in preparing the DPRs but we somehow managed to get it done and  now these DPRs will be submitted to planning department for release of funds. The work on these schools will be started soon,” Itoo said.

Meanwhile, the official said the students enrolled in the schools torched during the 2016 unrest, were accommodated in adjacent schools or in rented buildings.

“The directions were issued by the then secretary school education department to accommodate the students who were left without accommodation, in other adjacent schools,” the official said.

Officials said they shifted some students to adjacent higher secondary schools.

“We also hired a building on rent to accommodate the students after the buildings housing their schools were set on fire,” the official said.

Officials said at some places they accommodated students in the same campus despite the torching of some of the buildings of the school.

“In some cases we were in position to accommodate the students in the other available buildings in the campus. We didn’t shift students of these school to other place and didn’t hire any accommodation on rent,” he said.

Besides 2016 unrest, the school education department faced infrastructural loses during the by-polls for Srinagar and Anantnag Parliament seat in April this year.

 It may be recalled that two days ahead of by-polls in Anantnag parliamentary constituency, two government schools designated as polling stations were set on fire by unknown persons in Shopian and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir

A building of Government Upper Primary School (UPS) in Padderpora area of Shopian district was set on fire during the intervening night of April 9 and 10.

In a separate incident, building of Government Middle School (GMS)-designated as polling station in Pulwama district was torched in Arihal area of Pulwama district.


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