OHRC asks govt to demolish unsafe school buildings soon

Cuttack: Expressing deep concern on the functioning of some government schools in unsafe buildings, Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has asked the state government to demolish all unsafe school buildings immediately and construct new structures for students.

The OHRC direction came in the wake of the death of a four-year-old student in a government-run school in Sambalpur district in June 2013.

Deciding an application in this regard, the Commission in its order directed the school and Mass Education Department Secretary to pay compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the parents of the victim who studied in Class I.

Om Prateek Rana of Brahmanipali UGME School in Redhakhol of Sambalpur died on June 3 last year when an unused cement chair caved in on him.

The petition had alleged that the school building was constructed about 40 years ago in 1974 and the cement chair was damaged beyond repair.

“It is not understood why such an unsafe structure was allowed to stand when as many as four new rooms have been constructed in the same premises,” the Commission said, adding that the failure to do so amounts to negligence on the part of government for which it cannot escape liability.

Besides awarding damage to the parents of the victim, the Commission in the order directed the state government to issue immediate instructions to all District Collectors to make a thorough inspection of all schools in the state and demolish all structures which are found to be unsafe and beyond repair.