Water, power crisis force govt schools to cut down duration of classes
Principals of several government schools said despite repeated complaints to the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, nothing has been done to improve the power supply, the shortage of which also leads to water scarcity
With students finding it difficult to sit in classes and take lessons amid the incessant power cuts and shortage of water, most government schools in the district have cut short the duration of classes even as the attendance has gone down drastically due to the extreme weather conditions.
Principals of several government schools said despite repeated complaints to the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), nothing has been done to improve the power supply, the shortage of which also leads to water scarcity.
Anju Sharma, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Basai, said the attendance has thinned out in the last 15 days as students are not willing to come to schools plagued by long power cuts and non-availability of water.
“Students find it difficult to attend classes due to the scorching heat and no power in the classrooms. The parents are not willing to send their wards as we often have to take classes under a tree since there is no power backup to run fans. The water students get from home gets over in the first hour and they remain thirsty for the rest of the day,” she said.
Sharma said they have shortened the duration of classes, given the current weather, and send students home by 11am. Parents have also requested that online classes be resumed until the power crisis is resolved.
On May 2, the Haryana government revised the school timings to 7am to 12 noon due to the prevailing heatwave. Schools in the district are set to close for the summer vacation from June 1 onwards.
Suman Sharma, principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School of sectors 4 and 7, said teachers and students have been struggling due to the ongoing electricity and water shortage. “We do not get electricity at all from 7am to 12 noon. A fire, which broke out in the school’s electricity meter box, has added to our woes. The prevailing heatwave is preventing students, who want to attend physical classes after a year, to attend school and the power crisis and the non-availability of water just adds to the discomfort. Parents of the junior wing have said that they will start sending their wards after the summer break,” she said.
Suman Sharma said they have a huge campus with 1,000 trees so the situation is still better compared to other schools but it is still unbearable during summers. Students appear for their tests sitting on verandas outside the classroom, she said.
Arvind Singh, a parent of a Class 4 student, said his son refused to go to school as there is no electricity. “He told me there is no drinking water. After teachers told him to get extra water bottles, he started carrying two bottles but that’s not enough,” he said.
Priya Sehgal, parent of a Class 3 student, said she has stopped sending her daughter to school as she finds it difficult to sit in the class without a fan. “She starts crying every time we ask her to get ready for school.Her friends have also stopped coming to school due to the scorching heat and they have decided to take tuitions instead of attending school,” she said.
Officials said the turnout of students on an average is low and parents have assured to send their wards regularly after the summer break. School officials said they have been complaining to the discom but there has been no improvement.
Another principal of a government school in Chakkarpur said the schools should be provided with some kind of a power backup so that in case there is an emergency, they can at least operate the fans. “The district education officers do not entertain our complaints,” he said. District education officer Indu Boken could not be reached for a comment.
Superintending engineer of DHBVN (Gurugram-I) Manoj Yadav said, “The power supply has improved this month; there was a technical issue at the main feeder, which supplies power to the substations. The situation is better now and power cuts do not last for very long. We are in the process of chalking out a plan of ensuring uninterrupted power supply to the schools between 7am and 12 noon,” said Yadav adding they are trying to buy more electricity from the power exchange to ensure better supply.
Yadav said there is no provision of a different infrastructure to provide power to schools.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the minimum temperature in the city was 27° C--4.7 degrees higher than the average normal temperature for this time of the year. The maximum temperature was 43°C.
According to a forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the sky will remain clear on Wednesday and the maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be around 44°C and 28.0°C respectively.