Crumbling Mumbai civic school poses risk to 3,000 students, say parents
The Class 1 to Class 10 school has two wings, one of which was built five years ago. As the new building was already full, it could not accommodate 3,000 students, said an official.
With its scaly walls, cracked facade, contorted ceiling and broken, grubby windows, the 40-year-old dilapidated wing of a civic school in Powai posed risk to 3,000 students, said parents. As an ad hoc arrangement, Paspoli Municipal School has propped up the building with 70 iron rods, said Pawan Pal, an activist, who was the first person to raise the issue.
The Class 1 to Class 10 school has two wings, one of which was built five years ago. As the new building was already full, it could not accommodate 3,000 students till 12 of the 40 classrooms of the old wing are repaired, said an official.
Students were barred from accessing 12 dangerous classrooms last week, said one of the principals. With reduced space, students of different classes are crammed into one room or made to sit in the foyer, said Suresh Pal, a parent, adding that he worried about the safety of his children.
Despites uproar over the health of the building, a civic official said that the building was safe for the students.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the recent structural audits categorised the ground-plus-four-storey building as C2, which means it needs major repairs. Students of Marathi, Hindi, Urdu and Kannada mediums come at staggered timings.
“It is the only municipal school in this area. I have complained to the BMC several times but there has been no response,” said the activist, who has also sent four letters to state minister Vinod Tawde’s office.
Parents said they could not afford to send their children to private schools as Paspoli is the only municipal school in the vicinity.
Santosh Jha, whose three children study in the school, said, “The school has been in this condition for the past three years. I have confronted the school authorities. I have seen plaster peeling from the ceiling. Thankfully, no one has been hurt so far.”
Shubhada Gudhekar, chairperson of the education committee, said there were many hurdles which hindered redevelopment.
“The proposal for redevelopment of the school was declined because demolition within 100-metre radius of Powai lake is not allowed. We will soon repair the foundation and 12 rooms of the structure,” said Gudhekar.