Rs. 4 crore allotted for renovation; focus on sanitation

Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar has said that Rs. 4 crore will be allotted for renovation of Valiyathura Fisheries Residential School here. The Minister, who is the local MLA, visited the school on Saturday, following a report submitted by Health officials that many students of the school have skin disorders.

Mr. Sivakumar said that the Health Department and the National Rural Health Mission would conduct a medical camp at the school on Sunday morning. Those requiring further treatment would be taken to the medical college hospital, he added.

Of the allotted fund, Rs.1.5 crore would be set aside for clean drinking water supply, waste management, and rebuilding boundary walls. Another Rs.1.5 crore will be expended for a hostel building and Rs.1 crore for construction of an additional block.

Mr. Sivakumar said that the projects would be completed in the next financial year itself.

On Friday, school staff, ward councillor Tony Oliver, Fisheries Department authorities including Additional Director of Fisheries Saira Banu, and district panchayat officials had met to find a solution to the school’s problems.

The action plan will be initiated on Monday.

Considering the spike in the number of students affected by viral fever and skin diseases, they decided to accord top priority to improving sanitation.

Teachers pointed out the proximity of the borewell to the septic tank. There is just one tap on the campus for drinking water.

“We bring up these issues time and again, but it is only during a disease outbreak or a severe storm that such meetings are arranged and issues discussed,” said a teacher. Hostel students added that bath water was also contaminated. Many had itchy rashes.

Renovation of bathrooms is among the main civic works planned here. A new kitchen, with gas connection and exhaust fans, too will come up. The city Corporation will clean the septic tank.

“They intend to finish the work by Monday,” said Ms. Banu. “The open drain will also be covered immediately,” she added. Long-term projects were also discussed at the meeting. Mr. Oliver said a small hostel room housed 10 students.

“This is a serious concern and necessitates the construction of a new building,” he said. Ms. Banu said the existing buildings would be expanded to include reading and study rooms.

Students here did well in sports, qualifying for State-level contests in badminton and football, Mr. Oliver said. “But they lack space to practice,” he said. Hence, featuring among the long-term projects is levelling the playground and introducing facilities for badminton.