Fund flow to bring abandoned school buildings alive
MHRD sanctions 10 Cr for carrying out civil works
Srinagar: In a significant development, the school education department is likely to restart construction work on the school buildings sanctioned under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme. These buildings were left abandoned across the state over the past many years.
After the approval for construction of these school buildings under SSA school or construction of block for existing schools as additional classrooms, the construction work was halted on these buildings due to various reasons including cost escalation.
“The project cost of a school was around Rs 6 to 7 lacs at the time of inception of the scheme but the construction cost worked out here was more than that which delayed the work on these buildings till date,” an official said.
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo said the MHRD has agreed to provide Rs 10 core as supportive funding to resume the work on abandoned school buildings in the state.
“Rs 5 crore each will be released for Kashmir and Jammu region. We have consolidated the figures in Kashmir region as well,” Itoo said.
An official of the education department said around 1500 school buildings including those blocks sanctioned as additional classrooms for existing schools have been left abandoned in the state since the inception of the scheme.
“These buildings have remained unattended till date and contractors left the work midway on these buildings. The delay in resuming the work further worsened the situation as market witnessed cost escalation and the work couldn’t be started on these buildings,” the official added.
The official said the department didn’t pay any heed to these abandoned buildings given the pathetic enrollment of students in government schools operating from rented accommodations.
“The schools for which buildings were sanctioned were operating from rented accommodation till recent years. From 2015 most of the rented schools were also merged with adjacent schools due to meager enrollment of students. It further kept these abandoned buildings out of sight of the department as there were no accommodation crises in most areas,” the official said.
However, last year the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has asked the education department to complete the work on abandoned school buildings and put them under proper use for students.
“MHRD is very keen about it and has assured the department that it will provide additional requirement of funds to complete the work,” the official said.
Meanwhile, DSEK G N Itoo said the money provided by MHRD may be helpful in completing all the abandoned buildings but is expected to cover around 30 percent of the buildings.
“If we will succeed in the first step then we will be eligible to ask for more funds to complete the left out abandoned buildings at a later stage,” he said.