Bhubaneswar, Nov 23:
Acutely aware that any untoward incident may cause it huge embarrassment, the state government today threatened to take stringent disciplinary action against the government officials concerned for any failure to renovate and repair the dilapidated school and hostel buildings to ensure safety and security of children and other staffs in government run schools and hostels for SC/ST students.
“You may kindly appreciate that any such untoward incident may invite strict disciplinary action against all concerned, besides a huge embarrassment for this department despite repeated instructions given to our field officers, who are under your control in the respective districts,” said SC/ST Development department secretary Sanjeeb Kumar Mishra in a letter to all Collectors adding that necessary directions may be given to all district authorities concerned to drive home the point that any untoward incident is simply unacceptable.
Mishra also directed the district Collectors to renovate and repair the dilapidated buildings and structures as soon as possible.
“There is constant need to monitor safety of these children and other teachers /staff working in the schools, especially in the Residential Sevashrams. The Project Administrator (PA), Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDAs) and the District Welfare Officers (DWOs) have been repeatedly told to take adequate measures, including ensuring structural safety of various buildings where children study as well as reside,” said Mishra in the letter.
He further said that due care should be taken to ensure that such portions of the buildings that are unsafe should immediately be restored by taking immediate short-term measures. “Wherever building renovation is required i.e. long term measure, the children or any other person should not be allowed in that place and accordingly, the area should be cordoned off by temporary boundary facilities, and proposals should be made for renovation of that building,” said Mishra.
The department runs more than 1600 schools covering more than 40000 children with a substantial number of underprivileged children. It has provided more than 3000 hostels and around another 1000 hostel buildings are in the process of sanction, approval and under construction.
The SC/ST Development secretary said that while some Collectors have taken steps by forming teams of engineers to identify such unsafe buildings or portions of buildings, there is utmost need to consolidate such information and make a detailed action plan by directing the ITDAs and the block authorities so that the planning, both intermediate and long-term, is made to cover these works in a phased manner.