Noida government school students “in the dark” for months

Having studied at a government school in rural Uttar Pradesh decades ago, Rajender thought his children would get a better education at a government school in a “big city” in the State.

His four children — two sons and two daughters — are currently enrolled at a government primary school in Aggahpur village of Noida’s Sector 41.

The school, and several others in Gautam Budh Nagar district, have been without electricity since April as the Electricity Department cut the connections when the Education Department failed to clear the power bills.

No fan

“The schools back home in the village in Rampur are better. They are kept cleaner, there is drinking water and there is electricity. Here in the big city, our children are made to study in the heat, without even a fan for months,” added Mr. Rajender.

Another parent, Vasukinath Tiwari, whose daughter studies in Class V, said though she had complained about the heat she has not missed a single class.

“She has trouble studying in the heat, but there is no other option. The children have to bear the heat,” said Mr. Tiwari, who works at a cloth dyeing unit near the school.

Apart from the primary school, where 264 students are enrolled, there is a senior secondary school and an anganwadi centre in the complex — all of which have been without power since April.

In fact, the problem has affected several schools across the district as the Basic Shiksha Department has not paid electricity bills for the 933 primary schools run by it.

Confirming this, Mukul Singhal, superintendent engineer of the Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited, said: “We were forced to cut the connections of some schools as a token as the Primary Education Department had failed to pay the bills for most of the schools. The dues have accumulated to about Rs.35 lakh over the years.”

Late payment surcharge

The Aggahpur school, for instance, was given a bill for Rs.1,08,285 by the Electricity Department on April 20. Of the total, Rs.68,950 was arrears and Rs.37,155 the late payment surcharge. The bill for April itself was just Rs.2,179.

District Magistrate N.P. Singh told The Hindu on Tuesday that he was aware of the situation and had given directions to the Electricity Department to restore the connections immediately.

Mr. Singh had called a meeting of officials of the Electricity and Education Departments on July 16.

“This is a government to government issue, and will be resolved at the Secretary level. But, till then I have ordered the Electricity Department officials to restore connections,” said Mr. Singh.

Classes held outdoors

For the students who have been “in the dark” for months now, the lack of electricity has not dampened spirits. Some classes are held outdoors, under a tree in the yard.

While teachers said the children have been complaining about the heat, all the students The Hindu spoke to on Tuesday remained upbeat. “It is hot, but we try to sit near the windows,” said Class V student Bhumika.

Her classmate Ajay added: “School is still fun.”

Basic Shiksha Adhikari Manoj Verma remained unavailable for comments despite repeated attempts to contact him.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 3:51:12 AM |

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