More than 38,000 students in over 100 schools under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation are forced to sit on the floor or on mats as there are no desks and benches in classrooms.
These details came to light Monday after Congress councillor from Jahangirpuri, Poonam Bagri, said, during the House meeting of the North civic body, that she was pursuing the matter with officials to install desks and benches in three primary schools in her constituency. She said it was getting difficult for children to sit on mats, and emphasised on their right to get decent facilities in schools.
“Two of these schools have no desks and benches. In one school, 100 desks and benches were sent only six months ago. There are more than 600 children in the three schools. The officials had promised one-and-half years ago that desks and benches will be given in six months,” she said.
A senior official of the North Corporation said the issue has been pending since 2012-13, but serious efforts to procure desks and benches were only made last year. “However, it did not materialise because, as per MCD rules, we can buy desks and benches only from the Government e-Marketplace web portal,” he said.
“Earlier, the portal had an option to place the demand as per one’s requirement, but for around a year, it has not had this option. We needed furniture that is double-sheet, made of hard board,” he added. The official said the body has placed orders for 19,437 desks and benches for its schools.
North Corporation Mayor Adesh Gupta said, “Officials should chalk out ways to do open tenders if the portal is not fulfilling requirements, as children cannot be made to suffer. Also, in some schools if we have extra desks and benches, it should be sent to these schools.” The North civic body has 765 schools, where more than 2 lakh students are enrolled. A majority of them are from poor families. AAP leader and Standing Committee member Vikas Goel said, “The MCD cannot complain of lack of funds as there is enough money under the planned head for health and education. It has been proved in the House that these children are not getting desks and benches due to bureaucratic red-tapism and lack of political will.”