| A hostel for Scheduled Tribe students in Bhubaneswar |
Bhubaneswar, Nov. 24: The state government has warned its officials of stringent disciplinary action for lapses in renovating and repairing dilapidated buildings of government-run schools and hostels for the SC/ST students.
In the latest incident, two girl students were killed and one suffered injuries when the frail parapet of a hostel building of a government-run residential school in Kandhamal district collapsed on October 1.
In July last year, five children were crushed to death and nine others, including three adults, were injured when the wall of an anganwadi centre caved in at Ranpur in Nayagarh district.
“Any such untoward incident may invite strict disciplinary action against all concerned, besides a huge embarrassment for this department despite repeated instructions given to our field officers, who are under your control in the respective districts,” said secretary of the ST and SC development department Sanjeeb Kumar Mishra in a letter to district collectors, asking them to ensure renovation and repair of the dilapidated buildings at the earliest.
The department runs more than 1,600 schools, which have a student base of nearly 40,000 children. It also includes over 3,000 hostels at present while another 1,000 boarding facilities are in the process of sanction, approval or under construction.
“There is constant need to monitor safety of these children and other teachers/staff working in the schools, especially in the residential sevashrams. The project administrator, Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) and the district welfare officers been repeatedly told to take adequate measures, including ensuring structural safety of various buildings where children study as well as reside,” Mishra has written.
Mishra suggested that unsafe portions of the buildings must be restored through immediate short-term measures. “Wherever building renovation is required, that is, long term measure, the children or any other person should not be allowed in that place and accordingly, the area should be cordoned off by temporary boundary facilities, and proposals should be made for renovation of that building,” said Mishra.
The secretary said though some collectors had taken steps by forming teams of engineers to identify unsafe buildings or portions of buildings, there was a critical need to consolidate such information and prepare a detailed action plan by directing the ITDAs and the block authorities so that the planning, both intermediate and long-term, is done to complete the work in a phase-wise manner.