A Dhanbad-based advocate has moved the Jharkhand High Court seeking access to basic amenities for students of a state-run school in Wasseypur where 498 economically and socially weaker students study in two small rooms sans furniture, electricity and water and consume mid-day meals prepared in open unhygienic surroundings.
Md Mumtaz Ansari, a resident of Jharkhand, has filed the petition praying for issuance of writ of mandamus directing the Centre (Ministry of Human Resource Development), the State of Jharkhand, District Education Officer, Dhanbad, to provide basic infrastructure (classrooms, electricity, kitchen/storeroom, bench/desks, library, boundary etc.), teachers and non-teaching staffs to Utkramit Urdu Madhya Vidyalaya, Pandarpala, Wasseypur Dhanbad.
The petitioner highlighted the sorry state of affairs in ‘Utkramit Urdu Mahya Vidyalaya’ which was being run in two rooms admeasuring 15 by 18 feet, without any electricity, sufficient teaching staff, rooms, benches and the only source of drinking water is a handpump outside the school which does not have even a boundary wall.
The petition sought implementation of the order of the Supreme Court in Environment & Consumer Protection Foundation vs Delhi Administration, where it had directed the States to provide toilet facilities for boys and girls, drinking water facilities, sufficient class rooms, appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff etc within six months from the date of judgment in year 2013.
The petition said Utkramit Urdu Madhya Vidyalaya, Pandarpala, Wasseypur, a state government-run school, has 498 students from economically and socially weaker classes from Class 1 to 8 and runs in a 2-room building.
The school has no electricity connection and the mid-day meal is also prepared outside the school in open and unhygienic conditions, since there is no kitchen area in the school premises.
The petition also rued non-availability of basic infrastructure (classrooms, electricity, kitchen/storeroom, bench/desks, library, boundary etc.), teachers and non-teaching staffs in this school and said it is violative of the Fundamental Right of Students guaranteed under Article 21-A of the Constitution and the provisions of RTE Act, 2009.
Petitioner Mumtaz Ansari is associated with a group named ‘Fight4Right’ which runs an education centre named "Disha" for working and school dropout children and has rescued 40 such children since 2011 at Panderpala (Wasseypur).
The petitioner along with other members of the group admitted these children in neighbourhood school named Utkramit Urdu Madhya Vidyalaya, Pandarpala, Wasseypur, and during the visits to the school, Ansari found that the poor conditions of the school.
Shockingly, due to non-availability of separate classrooms, students of different grades study in the same class and concentrating on lessons being imparted is severely hampered.
“…it would not be out of context to mention that in past, funds have been allotted for the construction of school building but it was returned since the estimated amount did not include the carriage cost, which is required in present case, as the school is situated at a place where vehicles could not enter,” the petition said.
The petitioner was forced to move court as his representations to the Chief Minister, Jharkhand, Chief Secretary and DEO, Dhanbad fell on deaf ears.