Education department abandons 1500 school buildings due to cost escalation |KNO

Education department abandons 1500 school buildings due to cost escalation    |KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

Srinagar, Sept 26 (KNO): Reflecting the non seriousness of the school education department, more than 1500 school buildings have been abandoned by the school education department due to cost escalation. The department has failed to complete the construction of these buildings which were sanctioned by Ministry of human Resource Development (MHRD) over the past many years. 1n 2014, the department halted construction work on a two storey building in premises of Upper Primary School (UPS) in Baramulla district, under an expansion program. The work was executed under erstwhile centrally sponsored scheme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) with a total project cost of Rs 19 lakhs. Though almost five years have passed the school building is yet to be handed over to school authorities as the contractor has left the work midway. “The building has been left abandoned now and officials are least bothered to get the work completed," an official told KNO. With no watch and ward from the department, this abandoned building is often used by the forces as shelter during day time. “This building has served only one purpose - when it rains the BSF troops deployed on Baramulla-Kupwara highway take shelter in it," another teacher in the school said. This building is however not an isolated case of abandoned structures in school education department. There are around 17 primary school buildings, four middle school buildings and 30 blocks which were sanctioned as additional classrooms for schools but have been left abandoned in district Kupwara. The construction of another school building the building was left midway in 2014 in Baramulla. But in this case the contractor managed to get released all his dues despite not completing the job “Most of the buildings have been left abandoned for past three years due to cost escalation,” an official told KNO. Since the inception of SSA scheme the Government of India (Gol) is pumping large sums of money for infrastructure up gradation of the schools. However the investment is literally going down the drain in absence of proper planning in J&K. “The faulty construction of these buildings without checking feasibility has also exposed the nexus between contractors and authorities. The buildings have been constructed just to pave way for opening of new SSA schools and gaining political mileage,” the official told KNO. As per official figures available with KNO as many as 473 SSA primary school buildings and 41 middle school buildings have been left abandoned since the inception of the scheme in the state. Also, 1001 buildings sanctioned as additional classrooms for the existing schools under the scheme have been left abandoned. Director School Education Kashmir, Muhammad Younis Malik said they have taken up the matter with MHRD in past and they have agreed to release Rs 5 core each for Jamrnu and Kashmir region to complete work on abandoned buildings. “The approved cost of Rs 10 core won't help the department to complete construction work on all the abandoned building. The work will be completed on only 30 percent of these abandoned building," Malik told KNO.