88 students from classes 1 to 7 to be squeezed into 4 rooms

The 88 children in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) primary school in Malleswaram — studying in classes 1 to 7 — may soon be crammed into four rooms in the high school building. The BBMP has drawn up plans raze the primary school building that was constructed in 1971.

There is a difference of opinion within the BBMP itself. While the Education Department claims the school building could do with just a little maintenance, the Engineering Department has already awarded tender and work order to raze the school and construct a new one in its place.

A board outside the school claims that that the new building will be constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.13 crore. The initial estimate was Rs. 1 crore. The tender period is 12 months.

A senior official in the Education Department claimed the Engineering Department had neither kept them in the loop about the proposal nor shared the building plan. When the tender was awarded, with no other choice, he said he had urged the high school to allocate a few rooms to accommodate the primary school students. The high school has now given the primary school four rooms. Classes 1 to 4 are being held in one of those rooms, while classes 5, 6 and 7 are being held in the old building itself. Three rooms allotted to the primary school in the high school building are not being used at present.

Around 10 days ago, the school teachers were surprised when workers, who claimed to be employed by the contractor, began removing the roof tiles. “They were doing it during the school hours. We were scared the children could get hurt and immediately brought them outside the classrooms. We also stopped them from removing more tiles,” a teacher, on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu.

Rumours

Rumours are rife that the building will be demolished to make way for parking space for the BJP head office, here. The BBMP officials, however, are tight-lipped and only claimed that the present building, which has a tiled roof, was in a dilapidated condition.

‘It’s a dungeon’

M. Shantakumar, Assistant Executive Engineer (Malleswaram division), likened the present building to a dungeon. “We are planning a two-storeyed building with meeting halls, storeroom, 12 classrooms, a library, a computer room and separate rooms for the principal and staff members.”

He rubbished rumours that the school building was being demolished to make way for parking space.

“These rumours are being spread as the Assembly elections are round the corner. Once these rumours die down, the work will be taken up,” he added.