Children venture on busy road while playing
Upgraded school requires further constructions, BSF says have objections
Srinagar: The Government Middle School, Gupt Ganga Ishber, located opposite the BSF 107 Battalion Headquarters on the busy Nishat-Shalimar road is unable to raise a compound wall leaving its students vulnerable – courtesy objections by the BSF camp.
Students playing in the school ground often venture on to the road, for instance to fetch the ball, exposing them to traffic. Moreover, the school ground is elevated compared to the road and secured by an embankment raised up to ground level only – which means students are even vulnerable to sudden falls from the embankment.
Interestingly, the Middle school has been upgraded to High school recently by the government which makes the construction of new blocks, renovation and upgradation of the existing building important.
Officials at the Zonal Education Office Nishat said a plan to raise a compound wall from the roadside in 1994-95 was objected to by the BSF camp located across the road.
“The BSF objected and we had to stop the construction. Since then the school is without the wall on the front side,” officials said.
According to headmaster of the school, Mumtaz Ahmad, the school was established in 1960’s and was operating from a private property at Ishber. In 1990’s the residents appealed the then Governor, Jagmohan Malhotra, who was on visit to the area, to relocate the school to a nearby custodian property.
The school was shifted in 1991 and has been without any wall or fence since.
Mumtaz, posted last year to the school, has got the school compound fenced from one side but couldn’t fence the front side because of the BSF objection.
In 2016, the school had been occupied by CRPF, leaving the structure in bad shape. Mumtaz got most of it renovated, even bearing a substantial chunk of expenses from his pocket.
While Mumtaz is hoping that the upgradation of the school would usher in some development, especially more constructions, the BSF officials from the camp, Kashmir Reader talked to, said they still have “objections” to constructions in the school, because of security “concerns”.
“The objection still persists regarding the construction of the wall or any other building apart from the existing building. Even adding another floor to the building can create problems for us,” a BSF officer posted at the 107 Battalion headquarters at Ishber Nishat said.
Deputy Chief Education Officer Srinagar, Mudassir Kaleem Fazili, when contacted, termed the issue as “very important”, and said the matter would be “looked into on urgent basis”.
“You have raised a very important issue and have brought it to our notice. The safety of the children is at stake and we will start the work very soon,” Mudassir said. “If BSF objects to the construction, then we will take up the issue with the higher authorities”.