JORABAT, March 12 - The government may be blowing its trumpet over development in the education sector, but a visit to the government lower primary school at Jorabat on the outskirts of the capital city, exposes huge infrastructural shortcomings that require immediate attention.
Bearing testimony to the fact that infrastructure remains an issue to be dealt with urgently, the Jorabat LP School, an Assamese medium government school established in 1986 and provincialised in 1991, greets students and visitors with a rickety bamboo bridge at the entrance.
The school also fails to provide clean drinking water to the kids. One also wonders as to why a boundary wall has not been built around the school for so long, despite it being surrounded by various commercial and residential structures.
Another issue concerning the school that needs urgent attention of the authorities is the alleged encroachment on its land area of two bighas. This has been posing a threat to the safety of the students and is also affecting the healthy academic environment of the school.
It has been learnt that the school management committee (SMC) along with a few conscious citizens of the area, had earlier taken up the issue with the Sonapur Circle Officer and the Block Elementary Education Officer. But no steps were taken to free the school premises from the encroachment.
According to the locals, there used to be a concrete bridge at the entrance of the school till 2015. But the bridge was demolished on the orders of the then circle officer Munindra Nath Ngatey to clear the perennial blockage in the drain, with a verbal assurance that an elevated concrete bridge would be built soon.
Unfortunately, the promise remained unfulfilled and the condition deteriorated gradually as floodwater kept on eroding the land of the school.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, a group of local residents recalled an instance of a student falling down the rickety bridge into the drain. They also talked about the menace caused by stray animals in the playground, causing fear among the students to come out during recess hours.
Raising concern over the safety of the students, especially girls, they questioned The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, as the Schedule to this Act provides for securing the school building by a compound wall or fencing.
�If the encroachment is removed and boundary wall is constructed, it will enable us to let the children play. We have written to the authorities concerned a number of times and are awaiting their response on the issue� said SMC president Rajesh Rajbongshi.
He also called for active participation of the administration, education department and the child rights panel in freeing the encroached land and taking necessary steps for betterment of the school.