DSEK orders electrification of schools ‘at minimum tariff’

DSEK orders electrification of schools ‘at minimum tariff’
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CEOs asked to enter into agreement with PDD

SRINAGAR: With a majority of the institutions in the valley without an electricity connection, the School Education Department in Kashmir has directed electrification of the deprived schools at “minimum tariff”.
In a letter shot off to all Chief Education Officers CEOs) in Kashmir on Friday, the Joint Director at the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has asked them to provide electricity facility in schools in the valley “in a time-bound manner”.
For this, the CEOs have been asked to enter into an agreement with the Power Development Department (PDD) to provide the facility in schools in their respective districts.
The CEOs have been asked to electrify the schools left out “at minimum tariff”.
“The billing of these schools shall be raised by the PDD to the concerned Chief Education Officer,” reads the letter.
“Moreover, the electrification/wiring of the schools wherever required will be done separately,” it added.
The CEOs have been asked to share the action-taken report by or before February 15.
The directions to the CEOs to electrify all the schools comes days after Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, advisor to the Governor – who also holds the School Education Department portfolio – stressed on the electrification of all the schools in the valley by March.
It is worth mentioning that the majority of the government-run schools in Kashmir are without an electricity connection.
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, which was released recently, said that roughly 70 percent schools surveyed in the state were without an electricity connection.
The report said that only 31.2 percent of the surveyed schools were provided with the facility.
Kashmir Reader reported in November that more than 81 percent of government-run schools in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district did not have an electricity connection.
On a dark, cloudy day on November 2 last year, the School Education Department faced an embarrassment when hundreds of Class 12 students appearing for the General English paper of their annual examination had to write their papers under candles as there was no electricity available at the centres set up at the government schools.
Many students had even missed some of the questions in the darkness.
Chief Engineer PDD Hashmat Qazi told Kashmir Reader that the department was ready to provide electricity connections to the valley schools after entering into an agreement with the concerned CEOs.
Majority of schools in Kashmir had been unelectrified because “nobody was owning it”, Qazi remarked.
“We could not give illegal connections. The government has to legalise it. No one was coming forward to take a formal connection,” he added.