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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh Chandigarh , July 23, 2013
Punjab has four months to identify all unsafe classrooms in government schools and build new in place. The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday directed the Punjab government to release funds for new rooms and separate toilets for girls in all government schools to complete the process.

Disposing of a public-interest petition by advocate HC Arora, the division bench-comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih directed the state to submit the compliance report after four months. Speaking for the bench, the chief justice told the Punjab government counsel: "Such PILs can be avoided if the state government properly discharges its functions of governance."

In her reply, principal secretary (school education) Anjali Bhawra submitted that 966 government schools in the state were without separate toilets for girls and at least 110 classrooms in 10 districts (Bathinda, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Moga, Nawanshahr, Patiala, and Rupnagar) were unsafe. She said the government had released Rs. 43.44 crore for building common and separate toilets, and the construction was under process.

The principal secretary submitted that that the government had released Rs. 1.97 lakh for each project of separate girls' toilet. Arora argued that in an internal survey, the education department had found more than 700 unsafe classrooms but the public works department had not declared them so technically.