With barely a fortnight to go before it was to open its doors, Pretoria High School has hit stormy weather. The hi-tech school, with sound-proof and air-conditioned classrooms, has been slapped with a stop-work order.
Located at 3, Pretoria Street, surrounded by three arteries — AJC Bose Road, Camac Street and Theatre Road — Pretoria High, city police officials claim, is a disaster waiting to happen.
Once the school starts, traffic in the region will go haywire, the police said on Wednesday, while halting work on the ground floor of the building, following a recent court order. Officers from Shakespeare Sarani police station said they would return if promoter Bimal Nopany went ahead with his plans of setting up the school there.
More than 75 parents have already deposited Rs 15,000 each for admitting their children in the new school and a few of them flocked to the site on Wednesday afternoon, wanting to know what had gone wrong.
“The traffic system is already in a mess in the area after yet another air-conditioned market opened up recently. Pretoria High will definitely add to the chaos. I will fight till the end to ensure that the school does not open on Pretoria Street. Moreover, they haven’t taken any permission from us yet,” asserted deputy commissioner of police (traffic) M.K. Singh.
Trouble started about three months ago, after the promoter and owner of Chandrakunj, at 3 Pretoria Street, put up a billboard declaring that Pretoria High was coming up on the ground floor of the building.
Terrified owners of several offices in the highrise rushed to court for a stay on construction, which had earlier been declared illegal by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC).
The high court order of February 18 “is very important, since this place is already a disaster zone. With one school already existing (bang opposite the proposed school) and accidents frequent in the zone, the new school would have added to the trouble,” said a spokesman for the building owners.
The highrise houses nearly 20 offices, including the regional headquarters of Wipro, Westcoast Paper, Garware Ropes and the engineering item firm G.D. Bagadia Impex, among others.
When contacted by Metro, Nopany denied fresh construction had been carried out on the ground floor. “The police did come to check. Satisfied that we were not flouting any law, they left. I have already applied to the CMC for the necessary permission for the school, which will be a branch of the Nopany group of schools,” he said. “There is no reason to worry from the traffic point of view, either. This will be a small school, with all facilities indoors and we will definitely start on time,” he added.