Court orders Punjab to identify unsafe schools

Chandigarh, July 23 : The Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday directed the Punjab government to identify all unsafe classrooms in school buildings across the state within four months and release funds for re-construction of new classrooms.

The division bench also directed the state government to build separate toilets for girls in all government schools within four months.

The direction came in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer H.C. Arora regarding the dilapidated and unsafe buildings in which students were studying in government schools across Punjab.

In an affidavit filed by the state's Principal Secretary, School Education, Anjali Bhawara, it was admitted that there was shortage of 966 separate girls' toilets.

It stated that an amount of Rs.43.44 crore for common toilets and separate girls' toilets has already been released and construction is under progress.

The affidavit further disclosed that in 10 districts of Punjab, at least 110 class rooms in government schools are "unsafe". These districts are Bathinda, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Moga, Nawanshahr, Patiala and Ropar.

The petitioner had claimed that there were over 700 unsafe classrooms in entire Punjab as per an internal survey conducted by the education department itself. He sought the demolition of all the unsafe classrooms.

--IANS (Posted on 23-07-2013)

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