Over 5,000 government school premises have unsafe classrooms in Punjab.
The revelation came in the form of an affidavit submitted in the Punjab and Haryana high court by state director general of school education (DGSE) GK Singh, who assured the court on Friday that such structures would be demolished within eight days.
The DGSE assured the court that the process of constructing new structures or the required renovation was on and the unsafe classrooms were not in use anywhere. He also submitted that strict instructions had been issued to all district education officers against the use of unsafe classrooms.
The assertions came during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) regarding unsafe school buildings in the high court.
The DGSE had earlier submitted that most unsafe schools and classrooms had not been demolished.
The high court bench had granted three weeks to the rural development and panchayat department to submit a detailed status report regarding unsafe classrooms and construction of new rooms.
The further hearing into the PIL was adjourned to September 25.
Singh had also placed on record a letter dated July 4, addressed to all district education officers (DEOs), directing them to get the unsafe classrooms/buildings demolished within eight days of the receipt of the letter.
The DGSE had warned DEOs, “You will also forward a certificate to this effect to the head office that there is no unsafe classroom/building in the school. After this, if an unsafe classroom is found, then the sole responsibility will be yours.”
He had told DEOs, “If there is requirement of classrooms in lieu of these demolished unsafe classrooms/buildings, it should be forwarded in the previously issued format.”
In the affidavit, the DGSE said that during the current year, 2,600 classrooms had been declared unsafe. Around 60% of these classrooms had been demolished and the demolition process for the remaining was on.
All district education officers (elementary and secondary education) had certified that no child was being made to sit in any of the classrooms of the school which was declared unsafe.
As regards unsafe school buildings/rooms in schools under the rural development and panchayats department, GK Singh, in his affidavit, said the relevant report showing the latest position of unsafe classrooms in 5,358 such schools under the department was being verified.
He also enclosed a letter dated July 23, written by C Sibin, director, rural development and panchayats, to the DGSE, that his department be released a grant of Rs. 155 crore -- Rs. 65.74 crore for repair of buildings and Rs. 89.24 crore for construction of new rooms.