Deadline set for providing basic amenities in schools

Responding to the increasing outcry from the public , particularly parents and the media , State Government has taken a serious note of the fact that most of the schools run by it were functioning without electricity, drinking water and toilets and has, therefore, set the last working day of the current month as a fixed deadline by which such basic facilities are decided to be provided in the concerned schools in Jammu and Kashmir. The position in rural areas as also in respect of the girls schools, should have moved the state authorities long back to address this problem , however, the truism of ‘better late than never’ could be taken in a positive way that at least the problem was sought to be resolved. One of the reasons of poor turnout or the roll of the students in these schools despite provision of adequate , in many cases , surplus staff – well qualified and sufficiently trained, is the lack of these basic facilities as against those schools which are run by private institutions and individuals which had absolutely none of such problems .
Since there is the system of multiple agencies and lot of paper work involved as per the prevalent but obsolete office practices, even in providing these or any one of the facilities, various departments and administrative layers had to be encountered, the Chief Secretary has at least diagnosed the problem and, therefore, stressed upon the need of a coordination between these agencies so that the purpose could be accomplished. The interesting part of the issue is that it is not that the Government was not aware of the presence of this problem and “instructions” were not routinely issued about providing such rudimentary facilities within timelines but utter deficiency of coordination between the concerned agencies and half-baked monitoring by the Government proved the entire exercise as having failed in its purpose but whether this time the Government sticks to ensuring things done by May 31 remains to be seen as it is a matter of just two weeks .
We do not want to dive deep into the causes of there being conventionally a hump between the decisions taken and their implementation in most of the projects whether of small or a big nature and the stonewalling and stalling of vital information about the impediments , faulty assessments, estimates, mode of executing , concurrent or periodic audits and inspections, field visits of the ongoing work by the authorities prior to the stage of implementation and host of such ancillary issues but the fact is that very often, such vital aspects are not taken into consideration. Utter mundanely approach from the authorities in such a scenario is least expected. In the instant case, for instance, in many districts assessments and the extent of requirements of the facilities and the supporting wither withal in respect of many schools could not reportedly be made while in some other districts, the same was prepared resulting in confusion over such a small issue at the level of concerned administrative authorities. Work was not completed and timeline, one after the other, was allowed to be conveniently missed making a disarray and mishmash of the entire exercise. Such a scenario, though encountered many a time, by the Government is perhaps ignored whilst formulating future or subsequent policies for implementation within specific time. It is good that all the concerned Deputy Commissioners have been asked to pay attention to this job after they were “free from the Parliamentary election duties”. For those schools especially the girls schools where toilets are constructed but there is no water supply or no proper facilities for storing the same for use during school hours , proper arrangements must be made. Water supply lines need to be extended to the schools where there were none.