Srinagar: Authorities in J&K have built not even 20 percent of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) buildings, even though the schools were sanctioned eight years ago.
At a recent meeting, Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), A R War himself revealed in a statement that only 16 KGBVs had been completed so far, accounting for roughly 16 percent out of the total 99 such schools sanctioned for the state in 2009.
The 99 KGBVs are supposed to impart quality upper primary education exclusively to girls of the Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) of the state.
In the meeting, War claimed that 19 KGBVs were under construction and work on 27 KGBVs was “commencing very soon”, for which the state government has sanctioned an amount of Rs 10 crore.
Construction of rest of the buildings, as per War, would be completed on “top priority”, the statement said.
After the union Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) sanctioned the schools in 2009, insiders in the SSA J&K told Kashmir Reader that the state government has consistently failed to identify land for the majority of the proposed school buildings, as a result of which most of the schools were running out of rented premises.
“While some of the schools are running from the District Institutions of Education and Training (DIETs), others are currently operating from government schools and other buildings,” an insider said.
Disputes among people over the setting up of the schools in their own areas “further delayed” the completion of the buildings, an insider said.
“In the meantime, there was an escalation in the cost of building the schools,” he added.
Even though it has failed to complete the majority of the school buildings so far, the SSA J&K “will seek a special package” from the Government of India to complete the construction, the insider said.
In Kashmir, the KGBVs, which are otherwise meant to be residential schools, “work as day schools because of the security reasons”, the insider revealed.
“Most of the schools in the Valley do not have boundary walls, so nobody would want to keep their daughters in such type of schools. That is why the schools are not residential here,” he added.
In Kashmir, 10 KGBVs each are in north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Kupwara districts, while Anantnag and Budgam have eight each.
Four KGBVs each are functional in Bandipora and Leh districts. Ganderbal and Kulgam have three each.
Kargil, Pulwama, Shopian and Srinagar, the insider said, have six, five, one and two KGBVs respectively.
Across the state, an official said, around 4,000 girl students were enrolled in the KGBVs.
Earlier this year, War had said that construction of nine more KGBVs, all in Kashmir, had been undertaken after the government recently released Rs 2 crore for the buildings.