A status report filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court says that the Punjab government requires to build 4,315 new classrooms to replace unsafe ones in its schools.
The report submitted on Friday in response to a public-interest petition says that the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has released money for 1,296 of these classrooms, and 269 structures had replaced unsafe classrooms already. Toilets, 192 for girls and six for boys, had also been built, Punjab government counsel Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala submitted, adding that another 924 toilets had been constructed under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan; and seven more toilets for boys and 91 for girls were under construction.
Of the 2,922 schools where drinking-water samples had failed, the government had made arrangements for potable water in 1,833 by chlorination or installing reverse-osmosis (RO) systems, or laying regular connections; and in the remaining 1,100 schools, work was in progress, the counsel stated.
The high court bench of justice Satish Kumar Mittal and justice HS Sidhu expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the past three months and disposed of the petition. The petitioner, lawyer HC Arora, had sought the demolition of unsafe classrooms in all government schools and the construction of new ones to replace those. Later, the matter of failed drinking-water samples from the government schools had also been brought to the court.
Only one old-age home run by state
In another matter about seeking facilities for senior citizens, the Punjab government submitted in the high court that it ran only one old-age home in the state against 35 by the NGOs (non-government organisations). It stated that there were old-age homes in all districts, except three. "Nearly 20 of the 40-odd cities with a population of more than 50,000 have an old-age home each," Punjab government counsel Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala submitted during the hearing of the public-interest litigations. The government further stated that most of the old-age homes in the states were not filled to its capacity, and the governing NGOs received official grants.