Students of the Government Girls Senior Secondary School near north west Delhi’s Shahbad Dairy are attending classes without electricity, 18 days after two students were electrocuted there.
Around 5,000 students - in two shifts - are made to attend classes in dingy 6x6 metre classrooms in the humidity. Over 70 students are packed into one room.
On July 16, two students of the school were electrocuted by a naked wire lying inside the school. To prevent it from happening again, the municipal body simply disconnected power supply to the building.
Ever since, the students have been bearing the brunt.
Madhuri Kumari, a Class-10 student, said it became difficult to concentrate after the first few hours of class. “Especially after the rain, it gets so humid that it becomes impossible to sit in the classroom.
There are 60 students in our class and it gets suffocating. Students keep moving in and out of the room during class for some respite because we don’t have any other option,” said Kumari.
The school does not have a generator and the open area on the premises is often water-logged or muddy, making it difficult to conduct classes outside.
However, a team from the Government Schools Teachers’ Association (GSTA) did visit the school after teachers wrote to them about the deplorable conditions.
“We spoke to the principal and gathered that several letters have been sent to the office of the directorate of education, public works department which is incharge for maintaining the school building, and the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) which built the school. But there has been no response,” said Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary, GSTA.
Yadav and his team also conducted a safety audit of the building and found it be dangerous for students and teachers to occupy it. “The building was constructed in 2012 and it is already in such a bad shape. In fact, some classrooms had to be closed because it was identified as risky,” said Shikha Bagga, a social activist working with the residents in the area.
She said PWD officials told her that the department that constructs a building is responsible for its maintenance for 10 years.
“The authorities are passing the buck, but the lives of children are at stake here,” said Bagga.
The education director couldn’t be reached, despite many attempts.