The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has summoned three government officials and asked them to file a report in a case related to the shortage of basic infrastructure in Mohali government primary schools. Earlier in May, the Commission had taken suo motu cognizance of a Newsline report highlighting the lack of benches, classrooms and other infrastructure in schools and asked officials to submit a reply.
In his reply to the commission, District Education Officer (Elementary Education) Gurjit Singh said that action has been taken to meet the shortage of books and these have been distributed, while efforts are on to meet the shortage in other facilities. He also stated that at a primary school which lacks a toilet, there is no land available for constructing one.
On Thursday, Deputy DEO (EE) Kuljit Kaur appeared before the commission which has directed DEO (EE), DEO (Panchayati Raj) and the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) to appear on the next date of hearing.
There are around 450 government primary schools in the district, having approximately 35,000 students. On May 6, Newsline had highlighted the shortage of nearly 6,500 benches, around 190 classrooms, more than 13,000 metres of boundary wall and 75 teachers in these schools. Also, around one hundred schools needed major repair, according to the data provided by schools in the District Information of School Education (DISE) survey which is held every year.
In his reply to the Commission, the DEO said that a proposal for seeking grants is sent to SSA, Punjab, based on information gathered by the DISE survey and the grants are then used to fulfil the shortcomings in the schools.
He stated that a proposal seeking more furniture, classrooms and other infrastructure had been sent to the Director General of School Education (DGSE). Grants for 74 more classrooms had been sanctioned and as soon as funds are released, these will be forwarded to schools, he said.
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Gurjit Singh also said that the shortage of books had been met and till May 25, all books had been distributed. He further said that he went to inspect the school in Chhoti Bari Naggal village which lacked a toilet. Rs 35,000 was sent to the school in 2005, but a toilet could not be constructed due to lack of land.
The Sarpanch said that an effort will be made to provide more land to the school in order to construct a toilet, the DEO said in his reply to the commission. He also said that at the primary school in Bishangarh village, a toilet had been constructed after funds were released in February.
As the school with no toilet comes under the Panchayati Raj Institutions, DEO Gurjit Singh wrote a letter to DEO (Panchayati Raj) Subash Mahajan who has also been summoned by the Commission.
The case was adjourned to September 3.