February 2019 News
It's Official: 75 Percent Schools In J&K Without Electricity9 February 2019
Srinagar: More than 17,000 schools accounting for over 75 percent of the institutions in J&K are still without electricity in the 21st century even as the Power Development Department (PDD) is all set to provide connections to the unelectrified institutions. As per the minutes of a meeting chaired Thursday by Commissioner Secretary PDD, Hirdesh Kumar in Jammu regarding '100 percent saturation' of electricity in the state schools, Secretary School Education, Ajeet Kumar Sahu has informed that as many as 16,597 schools in the state did not have a power connection. These include 10,817 primary, 5,410 middle, 350 high and 30 higher secondary schools as informed by Sahu in the meeting. Also, at 527 government schools including 293 primary, 20 middle, 28 high and 3 higher secondary schools, the electricity connections are non-functional as revealed by Sahu in the meeting. As per the website of the School Education Department, J&K has a total of 22,627 schools. These include 14,171 primary, 6,665 upper primary, 1194 high and 597 higher secondary schools. Thus, the percentage of schools in the state deprived of electricity comes out to be 75.68. In the Thursday's meeting, which was attended by officials from the PDD and the School Education Department, the former has decided to install electricity meters and provide electricity to every school as per the following load: 7 KW for higher secondary school, 5 KW for high school, 3 KW for middle school and 1 KW for primary school. 'Power Development Department shall also install the service line with MCB and cost thereof shall be reimbursed to the PDD by School Education Department. The PDD shall raise the demand of funds in this regard,' read the minutes of meeting. The concerned Chief Education Officers have been asked to forward the category-wise list of unelectrified schools to the concerned Executive Engineer of the PDD. Also, the concerned Zonal Education Officers 'shall sign electricity connection application form for each primary and middle school' as per the minutes. 'Similarly, head of the institution (Headmasters-Principals) of high and higher secondary schools shall sign electricity connection application form and submit to the concerned Executive Engineer,' they added. As per the minutes of the meeting, the electricity connections 'shall be provided under government category and no connection charges shall be levied accordingly'. 'However all usage bills raised thereafter shall be borne by the School Education Department'. Recently the Directorate of Schoool Education had asked CEOs in Kashmir to enter into agreement with the PDD for electrification of all schools in a 'time boind manner'. Earlier, Advisor to Governor Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, who also holds the charge of School Education Department had impressed upon electrification of schools by March.