July 2017 News

State Has No Funds To Rebuild 37 Burnt Schools: Minister

29 July 2017
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Rifat Mohidin

Srinagar: More than a year has passed, but the 37 schools that were set afire by miscreants during the unrest last year are yet to be built as the government has no funds. A total of 5,000 students studying in these government schools were affected. Most of the schools were burnt in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, the epicentre of the 2016 unrest. 'The state government has no funds to rebuild the schools. We have prepared a proposal and submitted it to the Central government. We are awaiting release of funds to rebuild the schools and if the funds are not released then we will look for an alternative. But right now, there is no progress on rebuilding,' Minister of Education Syed Altaf Bukhari said. 'Till now I have not succeeded in reconstructing the schools,' he said. The minister admitted that the students who studied in these schools were suffering academically and said the reconstruction takes time. 'We have shifted the students to rented accommodations and nearby schools till some permanent arrangement is done,' Bukhari said. A senior official of the Department of Education said no serious efforts were being taken to rebuild the schools. 'That (burning of schools) was a major setback to education. People have forgotten about these schools. I am not even sure whether they will be rebuilt any time soon. Most of the schools are in rural Kashmir where it takes decades to even establish a school,' the official said. The burning of schools became the focal point of unrest last year after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani's killing. Around 37 schools were either partially or fully damaged in the fire incidents and the education sector suffered an infrastructural damage of Rs 10 crore during the unrest last year.