HC Fines Haryana Govt ₹5 Lakh For Below Par Infrastructure In State

HC Fines Haryana Govt ₹5 Lakh For Below Par Infrastructure In State

The court has called the principal secretary and director of secondary education, dictating a deadline for completing various projects and facilities.

FPJ Education DeskUpdated: Saturday, November 25, 2023, 06:55 PM IST
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Observing the deplorable state of the facilities in Haryana schools while millions of rupees went unutilized, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered the government to pay ₹ 5 lakh and has called the principal secretary and director of secondary education, dictating a deadline for completing various projects and facilities.

"The government's callousness is evident as government schools long for accommodations, power, running water, and toilets. Noting the shocking information presented in the recently submitted affidavit by the director of secondary education, the bench of justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj observed, "The absence of toilets in 538 girls' schools only highlights the plight and condition at the ground level (sic)," in light of the government of India's vigorous pursuit of the "Swachh Bharat" mission and its desire to install toilets for every household.

Response to a 2017 appeal

The court was considering a 2017 appeal from a man named Amarjeet and other Kaithal villagers, who had come before it to ask that students' safety be guaranteed from the run-down structure that had already been deemed unsafe and unsuitable for them. The high court (HC) had been periodically requesting budgetary and amenity details from the state government during these proceedings.

The education department turned over ₹10, 675 crore in ten years, the court found, because it was not being used. This amount included ₹3,881.92 crore under centrally sponsored programs and ₹6,794.07 crore against state schemes.

Regarding the fine, the court stated that it was imposed as "a mark of anguish and displeasure" and that the money was to be sent within ten days to the Department of Women and Child Development for use in the "children homes" welfare.

The affidavit

The affidavit states that there are 14,281 schools overall, with 95,363 classrooms that are currently in use and those that are under construction. According to the affidavit, 42,945 rooms are available, but 8,240 more classrooms and 5,630 more rooms are needed. Regarding basic amenities, there are 131 schools without a working drinking water facility, 1,047 schools without male restrooms, and 538 schools without female restrooms. There were 236 such places without even an electrical connection.

"Jugglery of statistics with no commitment to addressing the core issues that are glaring and a staring in the face of the affidavit," the court noted in the filed affidavit.

It was noted that there is no deadline for bringing basic amenities up to speed. "There is therefore much space for improvement and proactive vision and leadership, a quality that is found to be woefully lacking, in the way the directorate and the principal secretary are currently managing the department's affairs. It further stated that a timeline by December 15 and the presence of the secretary and director of secondary education are required. "It appears that the officials in the Department of Education are shifting the burden rather than shouldering the responsibility and finding excuses for their inability to meet the obligation to society for providing quality education to the citizens of tomorrow," the report continued. It also stated that the issue of assigning administrative blame for the errors made would remain unresolved.

The order claims that despite officials having been called in the past and having promised to act quickly, there has been a total "lack of planning" on their part and that the situation has not changed.

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