During the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the demolition of unsafe classrooms of government schools in Punjab and the provision of separate toilets for girl students, the Punjab and Haryana high court expressed its dissatisfaction regarding the steps being taken by the state government.
Director, rural development and panchayats, C Sibin had filed an affidavit in response to the PIL, stating that students of Government Elementary School (boys), Khatkar Kalan (Nawanshahr), the ancestral village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, had been shifted to a safe building till the new rooms were reconstructed.
The bench observed, “By shifting students from Government Elementary School (boys) to Government Elementary School (girls) in Khatkar Kalan, you appear to have converted a girls’ school into a co-educational one.”
The bench said the rural development and panchayat department’s claim that the government had got reconstructed 15 classrooms was “neither here nor there in the face of the gigantic task of reconstruction of 1,094 classrooms.”
“You are still seeking the release of funds, while the job of demolition of unsafe classrooms and the reconstruction of 1,094 rooms in 595 government schools is still to begin,” said the bench, while granting time to the state government to file a better affidavit after taking concrete steps.
Government Elementary School (boys), Khatkar Kalan, is one of the 595 schools under the panchayati raj department (now transferred to the education department), from where the students have been shifted as the classrooms are not fit for use.
The PIL is to be listed for further hearing before the HC on October 17.