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Delhi school for visually impaired running in ‘derelict’ building

Around Rs 98 lakh were sanctioned for the repair work of the building in December 2017. Work was to start in May. However, work has started only now after the incident.

delhi Updated: Aug 20, 2018 09:43 IST
Vatsala Shrangi
Vatsala Shrangi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,school for visually impaired
Portions of roof of the school for visually impaired boys in Kingsway Camp have now been temporarily patched up. (HT Photo)

Rustam Oraon, a Class 10 visually impaired student, had a narrow escape as a portion of the roof of his hostel room fell just beside him. The incident took place at the Government Senior Secondary School for Boys (Blind) hostel in north Delhi’s Kingsway Camp on August 8 after heavy rain in the national capital. This incident has occurred after a PIL on the condition of the building and the requirement of teaching staff was filed in the Delhi High Court earlier this month.

“Portions of two roofs had fallen on the same day in room numbers 7 and 13. I was saved as it fell besides me and just broke my fingernail. The other boys were at the other end of the room. My parents were glad it did not fall on my head,” said Oraon, showing the wound.

After the incident, students received a letter from Delhi social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam saying things will be fixed soon.

The roofs have now been temporarily patched up with cement. The railings to the staircases are rusting while the wall paint has come off at most places.

According to hostel residents, the school building was identified as ‘dangerous’ by the Public Works Department some years ago, but no precautionary measures were taken.

“It was only after a petition was filed that some repair work began, ” said SK Rungta, senior advocate who filed the plea and general secretary, National Federation of the Blind.

Around Rs 98 lakh were sanctioned for the repair work of the building in December 2017. Work was to start in May. However, work has started only now after the incident.

However, this is not the only worrisome fact about the place run by the Delhi government’s social welfare department. The school and hostel for the blind from Class 1 to 12, housed in a two-storey building, also lacks teaching staff, books and, most importantly, audio devices.

With only 10 teachers for a total of 136 students, the classes are held with students stuffed in a room. Of the 10, only four teachers are regular employees while the rest are guest teachers. The sanctioned strength is 25 teachers. For the last 6-7 years, there has been no recruitment to fill the vacant posts said a school official.

“There is only one teacher for primary classes (Class 1-5). There are no teachers for science and maths, which is taught here up to Class 8,” said RP Yadav, who teaches senior classes.

Vijay Rahul, a Class 12 student, said, “there are no teachers for most subjects. How can a Hindi teacher teach mathematics?” said Rahul.

The school has been running without a principal for more than two years. A new principal, a PGT teacher, has been given the and has joined only on August 18.

“We had asked engineers to assess the structure and start repair work. Also,I have been writing for a year to the DSSSB for recruitment of teachers. Meanwhile, we have arranged for guest teachers. I will review the progress on Monday,” Gautam said.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 03:47 IST