Delhi govt admits in HC 99-yr-old school building dilapidated, unsafe for kids

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has admitted before the Delhi High Court that the 99-year-old building of a government school on the land belonging to the Ministry of Defence in Delhi Cantonment was dilapidated and unsafe for children.

The Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE), in an affidavit, proposed that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) should construct a new building on the land to run an aided school or it may hand over the complete possession of the land to the department for construction of a new school building.

The affidavit was filed in a pending petition by NGO Social Jurist in which it was alleged that Rajputana Rifles Heroes Memorial Senior Secondary School in Delhi Cantonment, taken over by the Delhi government since 1975 and getting 100 per cent aid from the state government, was in a horrible condition.

“Since the building is dilapidated and unsafe for the children, as a measure of abundant caution, the students of the school may be shifted or adjusted to nearby schools with the consent of the parents,” it said.

The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing tomorrow before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon.

The DoE said that in pursuance to the court’s July 13 direction, joint inspections were carried out by the senior officials of Ministry of Defence, DoE and others on July 23 and 25.

It said that after the joint inspections, Garrison engineer of MoD highlighted that the school building was constructed in 1919 and it has outlived its useful life and is unsuitable for habitation from the next on completion of 100 years.

Due to the condition of the building, no major repair or alteration is recommended to the building owing to safety issue. Even the building is not compliant with latest codal provisions laid down for school, architecturally and structurally, by the Bureau of Indian Standards. Hence, functioning of the school from the current building is no recommended, it said.

The DoE said the military engineer services takes the rent for the school building including the water and electricity charges from it for running the school.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, appearing for the NGO, had earlier said around 450 students are studying in the school and they have been unjustly deprived of adequate physical infrastructure and academic faculty to educate them.

The plea has said though the school is open for all, it mainly caters to the children of servants of military officials who are not in a position to educate their kids in private school.

It has alleged that the school lacks basic amenities, including potable drinking water, functional toilets, science and computer labs, clean classrooms and proper boundary wall and several posts of teaching staff are lying vacant.

The petition has sought direction that the existing building of the school be demolished and rebuilt as a state of art school.

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