As many as 70 government schools in Ghaziabad city have been running without electricity since March-end. As a result, hundreds of children in these schools are forced to study without fan and light. The power supply to these schools was snapped because of unpaid electricity bills.
The affected institutions include primary (Class 1 to 5) and junior high schools (Class 6 to 8).
“Our school has nearly 450 students but only around 150 turn up these days because our power supply was snapped in March-end. Children are studying without lights and fans and even our water pumps are not working. Children have to bring water from home or rely on the occasional tap water supply,” said Tasveer Raza Naqvi, head master of a primary school in Kaila.
“We have to bring fan from our house or use books and copies as fan,” said Raza, a Class 4 student of the school.
Iqbal Ahmed, in charge of a junior high school in the city, said, “Our water supply is also affected. Also, submersible pumps are also not working. The handpump water is not fit for drinking. Even teachers have to bring water from home.”
Sunita Kapoor, headmistress from Nasirpur primary school, said, “Most of the times, we have to sit in the corridors for fresh air. Even children often come out of classrooms due to the heat.”
Even the power supply to the office of the district basic education officer in Nehru Nagar has been disconnected since March-end and the employees have been working without fan and light.
According to the records of the education department, it owes more than `1 crore in electricity bills from 2011-12 to 2015-16 in Ghaziabad district.
“We have not received any grant from the government in the past three years. This year, we received `21 lakh as electricity grant for schools. We are paying the dues,” said Pravesh Yadav, Ghaziabad basic education officer.
The department said it has shot off a letter to the electricity department on April 18, informing it that a cheque for `7,100 per school has been sent to the electricity department for 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Lalmani Mishra, Nagar Shiksha Adhikari, said of the pending amount, `21 lakh has been deposited to the account of the electricity department.
“We hope the electricity connections of the 70 schools will be restored. We have also requested district officials to help restore the power supply,” he said.
Officials from the electricity department said they will have to check their accounts to acknowledge the receipt of the cheque from the education department and also the total due amount.
“Their officials (education department) should be sincere enough to raise the yearly demand (of grants) from their headquarters and also submit a copy to us. This will help us raise the issue with their department head in Lucknow,” said Arvind Rajvedi, chief engineer (distribution) from Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited.
“We will verify the payments made by the education department and restore the power supply at the earliest. Even
we do not want the children to suffer without electricity,” he said.