Monday, 30th October 2017

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Floods affect 1358 schools in 7 years

In 2019, the maximum number of schools, 429, were affected

By Mukesh Kr Singh in Dhubri
  • Published 8.11.19, 12:18 AM
  • Updated 8.11.19, 12:18 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Bholarkhash Char School File Picture

Massive soil erosion by the Brahmaputra has wiped out at least 228 schools and affected 1,130 schools since 2012 in Assam’s Dhubri district.

The erosion has been highest this year, the office of the district elementary education officer, Dhubri, said in a reply to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The data furnished to RTI applicant and advocate Irfan Ullah Khandakar by the district project engineer, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Dhubri, says 19 schools were washed away in 2012, 64 in 2014, 44 in 2015, 34 in 2016, 33 in 2017, 10 in 2018 and 24 till October 2019. No data was recorded for 2013.

Giving a year-wise break-up of schools affected by soil erosion, the department said 271 schools were affected in the district in 2012, the year since it has been maintaining records, 80 in 2014, 223 in 2015, 54 in 2016, 60 in 2017 and 13 in 2018. This year, the maximum number of schools, 429, were affected.

The office of the district elementary education officer, Dhubri, in its report, said they collect a list of such schools every year after floods and submit the detailed reports to higher authorities, including the deputy commissioner, the District Disaster Management Authority, the Directorate of Elementary Education, Assam, and the mission director of Axom Sarva Siksha Abhijan Mission for taking remedial measures and providing financial aid towards reconstruction and repair of the flood-damaged schools but have not received funds yet.

However, the reports said in some schools additional funds were provided by the SSA authorities and the schools were constructed/repaired accordingly.

According to the district education department’s statistics, before the floods this year, there were 2,017 schools functional in six education blocks of Dhubri district, namely Gauripur, Agomani, Golakganj, Bilasipara, Chapar and South Salmara. These schools had 296,303 students enrolled in the current academic year that began in January.

An official of the district elementary education department, on condition of anonymity, said, “The department prepared a summary sheet of Rs 742.32 lakh as tentative costs against floods damages in 2019 and submitted it to the higher authorities. This is also yet to be approved.”

The department had submitted the summary sheet on July 31 this year, based on a rough estimate that 500 schools were damaged by floods.

RTI applicant Khandakar said, “The above data pertains to state elementary schools only. There are many more private and non-provincialised elementary schools in the district, besides a few high schools, which have also been affected by flood-induced soil erosion but have gone unreported.”