Fate of students at only Deaf & Dumb School uncertain

Students at study in Deaf & Dumb School in Jammu.
Students at study in Deaf & Dumb School in Jammu.

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, June 7: While the hapless families of the ‘children of lesser God’ have been divided for the sake of education, the fate of these students at the only Deaf & Dumb School in the Jammu and Kashmir State is uncertain.
Having strength of nearly 90, this school is being run by an NGO, J&K Samaj Kalyan Kendra, comprising of group of the dedicated and committed social activists of the State. The education of these lesser fortunate children purely depends upon the donations from the public.
What to talk of over-whelming support from the Government to this unique charitable institute or provision of land or building for them, even the NGO is made to pay a rent of Rs 30,000 per year through its nose to the EP department, under Revenue and Relief Ministry of State Government. While the State Government is running two full-fledged schools for blinds with hostels at Srinagar and Jammu since 1956, it never bothered to adopt these “Children of the Lesser God” for the sake of their education and provide them even a single boarding school in the State. It is unfortunate that even the respective Heads (Governors) of this Welfare State in past over five decades, remained ignorant of the pain and ordeal of these otherwise, ‘orphan’ children of the State.
Majority of the students studying in this only school are from rural and remote areas of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Rajouri, Poonch, Anantnag and Kupwara. The ratio of boys and girls is 50:50. Four students here are also from adjoining Himachal and Punjab States. One can imagine the helplessness of the unfortunate parents of these children as at least one of them, either mother or father, is staying with the child for the sake of education in Jammu. One of them remains at home to look after the other children. These hapless families are divided for the sake of education of their handicapped children in the absence of much needed support from the Government.
Parveen Singh, father of one of the students, said the school is up to 10th Class. After 10th class future of their children is dark. He said this year nine students appeared in Matriculation exam and eight got through but there is no further scope of their studies. “Their future is sealed here, courtesy State Government.
Principal of the School Roshan Bhan told the Excelsior that members of the NGO along with parents of the deaf and dumb students had met the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah about one and half year back. Young Chief Minister’s response was highly sympathetic towards the woes of these hapless children. He promised to establish a full fledged upgraded Government owned school with hostel and other facilities and also issued instructions to the School Education department but nothing has happened till date.
Mr Bhan further disclosed that NGO had also requested the Housing and Urban Development Minister to provide land for school and accordingly the Vice Chairman of JDA agreed to provide 8 kanals land at Sidhra in 1995. An amount of Rs 2 lakhs was deposited with the JDA but the possession was never given to the NGO for school as that land turned out to be disputed. After repeated requests and intervention of ministers again NGO requested to provide land at some other location in 2006. The JDA agreed and demanded Rs 2 lakhs more for providing land at Gole Gujral. But they also delayed for several years to give possession. Then with the intervention of DyCM Tara Chand and Minister for Revenue Raman Bhalla, 7 kanals and 3 marla land was allotted at Gole Gujral. It was registered in the court of law but when possession was being given in October 2011, that land also turned out to be disputed. The other party claiming land moved to the court and even dragged us to litigation. “We paid Rs 4 lakh to the Government agency but for what fault of us we are being made to fight in the court and pay to the lawyers when we don’t have even money for paying salary to the teachers in time”, Mr Bhan added.