Schools suffer without water supply - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Schools suffer without water supply
9 Jun 2009, 0619 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : The government school in Cox Town is going through hellish times. Three institutions on the premises -- Tamil and Kannada schools and a degree college started two years ago have a combined student strength of 700. But, the school hasn't been getting water for the past six years. To add insult to injury, the Tamil school got a water bill for Rs 1.34 lakh and the Kannada school got a water bill for Rs 51,000. Apparently, it's the arrears for non-payment of bills over the past six years.
The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has to release funds to pay such bills. However, the school's repeated complaints to the department were met with stock responses. "Every year, we write to the DPI asking it to pay the bills. But the common refrain is: no funds," said a school official. The DPI sends officials to inspect the school every year. Somehow, they overlook this problem every time.
The Tamil and Kannada schools are co-ed institutions. Students and teachers have been bringing water from home. During the six hours they spend in school, most schoolchildren hardly go to the toilet. "We go behind the bathrooms," said a boy, because the bathrooms are not functional, except one for the staff and another for students. The girls said they try not to answer nature's call, unless it's absolutely necessary. Most students are pre-teens or teens and relieving themselves anywhere would only invite leering stares and deeply embarrassing.
A few years ago, former MLA Nirmal Surana built 10 toilets at the school. Now, they are dilapidated with no water or users. Teachers too are in a fix as they have to lock the bathroom and use it only when necessary.
The only saving grace is a borewell outside. An overhead water tank donated by former MP H T Sangliana three years ago is used to store water. The children use this water through the day, albeit sparingly.
Suprisingly, when TOI spoke with commissioner of public instruction G Kumar Naik, he didn't about the problem. He said: "I'll check with the deputy director of public instruction concerned. If it's a fact, I'll take it up, both with the DPPI and BWSSB."
Even the Vidhana Soudha is supplied water only on payment. The rule is uniform for all non-commercial buildings as the KPTCL supplies us with power at a commercial rate. There is no scope under existing laws to waive arrears. The only exception is probably genuine water disputes with domestic connections. The executive engineer can waive arrears/ interest on arrears up to Rs 10,000 on a case-by-case basis. For such schools, the education department has to pay.