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At lone state-run blind school, Punjab govt turns blind eye to security

Dilapidated infrastructure and overgrown weeds reflect the disregard.

punjab Updated: Sep 28, 2017 14:22 IST
Amit R Joshi
Amit R Joshi
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Home and School for Visually Impaired,state-run blind school,Punjab blind school
Visually impaired students at Braille Bhawan in Ludhiana.(Gurminder Singh/HT)

It is Punjab’s only school for the blind, but the lack of attention can well make it seem a forgotten entity. Even in light of the murder of a student in an upscale school in Gurgaon that made national headlines, at this complex — Home and School for Visually Impaired — in Ludhiana, run under the aegis of the state’s department of social security and development of women and children, there is no security guard, and anyone can simply walk into the hostels of boys and girls.

Waste material dumped in the corridor of Braille Bhavan in Ludhiana. ( Gurminder Singh/HT )

Dilapidated infrastructure and overgrown weeds reflect the disregard too. Established in 1968, Braille Bhavan complex spread over 13 acres houses the school, besides a training centre for teachers, a vocational centre for the blind, and a printing press.

The school is home to 75 students, including 29 girls, aged seven to 16, who attend classes up to Class 10.

At the boys’ hostel, stray dogs roam freely. Some boys, who did not want to be identified, said the food is good but “security is not a concern for any of the authorities”. Another inmate said, “We face problems with hygiene and cleanliness of our rooms. However, they mop our rooms with phenyl only when there is a VIP visit.”

While buildings of the hostels are crying for maintenance, another is under construction. Work depends on availability of funds. Another building with eight rooms sponsored by Oswal Group of Industries is near completion.

Discarded furniture items and other junk are strewn on the campus, even in the corridors, posing a threat of injury to the visually impaired students.

Upgraded in name

The school is affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board and was recognised as a senior secondary institute in 2002.

Discarded furniture items are strewn on the campus, posing a threat of injury to the visually-impaired students.

Fifteen years later, classes 11 and 12 are yet to be started as the government has failed to recruit teachers for that. The school is being managed by two regular teachers and five volunteers. Sanctioned number of teaching staff is 12.

Depends on pvt firms

Its financial constraints are eased by industrialists’ philanthropy. The five volunteers working on a stipend of Rs 5,000 a month are paid by Oswal Group. But the commitment ends with September. Paramjit Kaur, the principal, said she could not comment on the issues, and that teachers are recruited by the government.

Kavneet Kaur, superintendent of the hostel, said “outsiders do come for work” as construction is on. She, however, added, “Security is not an issue; students are safe in the school.”

First Published: Sep 27, 2017 09:28 IST