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'Horror houses': Women's panel finds syringes, drugs in MCD-run schools

Some of the MCD-run schools are "horror houses", the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) remarked after it conducted surprise inspection and found them without adequate security and sanitation facilities

Syringe market

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Some of the MCD-run schools are "horror houses", the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) remarked after it conducted surprise inspection and found them without adequate security and sanitation facilities.
In one of the school premises the DCW inspected on May 20 and 21, the panel claimed it found syringes, drugs, cigarette cases, gutkha wrappers and even broken liquor bottles.
The inspection came days after the panel initiated an exercise to go into the safety and security of students in schools after two girls allegedly faced sexual assault at a Municipal Corporation of Delhi-run school in Bhajanpura earlier this month.
Bhai Mandeep Nagpal Nigam Vidhyalaya, Aruna Nagar (North), Nigam Pratibha Sah Shiksha Vidhyalaya, Kewal Park (North), Purvi Dilli Nagar Nigam Pratibha Vidhyalaya, Mustafabad (East), and Dakshini Dilli Nagar Nigam Prathmik Sah Bal Balika Vidhyalaya, Sanjay Colony, Bhati Mines (South) are the schools that were inspected.
The DCW said its teams found the gates of all these four schools open and there were no security guards.
After it found syringes, drugs and broken liquor bottles among other substances at the premises of the Kewal Park school, the panel said it has recommended filing an FIR in the matter urgently.
Most of the school buildings were severely damaged and unsafe for children, it said.
"Parts of the ceiling and walls have fallen several times in the school at Aruna Nagar and there have been several narrow escapes. In Bhati Mines, the children were forced to sit in a tin shade in scorching heat," it noted.
The DCW observed that the schools did not have a single CCTV camera that was operational and that the toilets were extremely dirty.
"Also, there were several toilet doors that were broken or could not be locked from inside, which raises serious concerns regarding the safety and privacy of children. In the school at Bhati Mines, the girl toilets were locked, and the boys and girls were forced to defecate in the open, as there was no water connection in the toilets," it alleged.
Further, the panel said the four schools were overcrowded and it was clear that the norms for teacher-pupil ratio were not being followed.
"The DCW was informed that MCD is running summer classes for the children studying in its schools from 7.30 am to 11 am. However, the mid-day meal is presently not being served in any of its schools," it said. During the inspection, it was also found that proper benches were not available in schools.
The civic body, in a statement, responded to allegations, saying that broken syringe was found due to existence of a corporation dispensary near the school located at Keval Park.
It also said the MCD school at Bhati Mines is facing difficulty in providing wholesome facilities as it is located on forest department land, while corporation school in Aruna Nagar will be renovated soon.
The building of Bhati Mines school being located on the land of the forest department, construction of a permanent building is not allowed there.
The school is facing water related problem as Delhi Jal Board could not provide water connection. However, the corporation has arranged water supply from a nearby temple for now and permission for installation of borewell has been taken from District Magistrate (DM) South. This will help resolve water supply problem permanently in the school, the statement said.
As many as 12 CCTV cameras have also been installed in the school premises, which are often damaged due to the monkey menace. It was on this account that CCTV cameras were not found working on 21st May, 2022 when the team visited the school, the statement said.
Since MCD dispensary is near the school located at Keval Park, gutkha wrappers, broken syringes and cigarette butts were found there. An inoculation camp was organised on May 20, 2022 and the syringes used during inoculation were thrown carelessly in the school, the statement said.
The gutkha wrapper and cigarette butts found are result of careless attitude of public visiting inoculation camp held in the school, it claimed.
The MCD is making efforts to improve the condition of the school building there, the statement said.
The DCW has issued a notice to MCD commissioner and sought a detailed action report by May 30.
It panel has also sought details of the officials responsible for the "dismal" condition of schools and has asked the MCD to take action against them.
"These schools are horror houses where students and teachers are extremely unsafe. How can a school exist without a security guard and CCTV? In today's world, MCD is running schools where girls are forced to defecate in the open!

"So much for the Total Sanitation Campaign! The situation is extremely alarming and urgent steps need to be taken to safeguard the future of the children," DCW chief Swati Maliwal said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 24 2022 | 7:37 AM IST

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