174 illegal schools in Noida villages, but no action against them
There are 174 illegal private schools operational in villages without requisite approvals for the buildiings, officials of education department in Gautam Budh Nagar district said.Updated: Dec 18, 2018 14:11 IST
Monday’s mishap, in which two children were killed after a wall of a school collapsed, has brought to fore the lackadaisical attitude of the Noida authority, which has never acted against the owners of unauthorised unsafe buildings, which are being used for schools in villages, officials said.
There are 174 illegal private schools operational in villages without requisite approvals for the buildings, officials of education department in Gautam Budh Nagar district said.
The Uttar Pradesh government on April 23, 1976, had established the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (Noida) and, according to the Master Plan 2021, the city is spread across 2,031 hectares, comprising 81 villages and 168 Sectors including residential, commercial and Industrial uses.
The Noida authority has the mandate to regulate buildings of all kinds, including schools, in urban and rural areas. It has the power to issue notices and seal illegal and unsafe buildings.
After the twin building collapse in Greater Noida’s Shahberi, in July 2018, killed nine persons, the Noida authority had conducted a survey and identified illegal buildings in all villages.
On August 3, the Noida authority had identified 1,757 buildings, which were constructed without approvals.
“However, we did not count unsafe buildings, which are being used for schools in villages. The administration and education department should look into this issue,” a Noida authority official, not authorised to speak to media, said.
Noida authority chief executive officer Alok Tandon and additional chief executive officer RK Mishra were unavailable for comment on the issue despite repeated attempts to reach them. The authority’ officer on special duty, RK Singh, refused comment on the issue.
Over 70 of 174 illegal schools are operational in Noida villages, officials of education department said.
“We had acted against illegal schools in 2017 and over 85 were shut down then. We are taking necessary action in this regard and schools, which are illegal, will face tough legal action,” BN Singh, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar, said.
Officials of the district administration may also write to the Noida authority as to why it did not act against owners of buildings, where illegal schools are operational.
These illegal schools cater to over 1 lakh students. They do not have affiliations to the Uttar Pradesh state education board, the Central Board of Secondary Education or any other board. These schools mostly cater to the children of factory workers and daily age earners, who cannot afford to send their children to recognised private schools.
“Each school, on an average, accommodates over 1,000 students and the fee is in the range of ₹800 to ₹1,500 a month. All these schools are sheltered by the education department. These school buildings do not have any safety measure in place. Some schools have over 1,000 students studying in small and dinghy buildings that have no setback area or fire safety systems in place,” a school teacher, requesting anonymity, said.