Hubballi, Feb 17: What hundreds of students of a Koppal school dreaded finally came true on Thursday morning: The roof of a passage in the government school building came crashing down. There were no casualties as students and teachers were away at the morning assembly for prayers.
The Government Central Model Higher Primary School building in Koppal, about 400km from Bengaluru, is ready to crumble anytime. The 50-year-old building that hasn't seen repair or maintenance in years, houses 480 students from classes I to VIII in 12 rooms, besides staffrooms and administrative blocks.
The roof of the passage crashed, and concrete blocks landed right in front of classrooms. Besides, the headmaster's room also collapsed.
According to sources, this is not an isolated incident as the roof of some classrooms and office room came crashing down about six months ago.
School principal Beerappa Andagi said: "The building has developed cracks. Cement layers from the roofs are coming off every day in all parts of the school building.I shudder to think of the day this structure collapses."
This is the only government school in Koppal. Its 19 teachers and students are on high alert about the condition of the building. A teacher said most students keep a watchful eye on the roof and walls even as they are busy scribbling down notes. District education officers led by the deputy director of public instruction and block education officer have visited the spot. But they haven't taken tangible measures to shift the school to a safe building, the principal said.
Koppal block education officer Umesh Pujar admitted the building was sitting precariously , but played the turf card about maintenance."The building doesn't come under the education department; it's under the tahsildar's jurisdiction.Repairs or renovation has to be carried out by the tahsildar. We've sought a fund of Rs 2.5 lakh under the Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan to repair the building; the fund may come only in June. I will inspect the school again and suggest remedies," he said. Science teacher Ambakka Jantli suffered head injury when a block of roof landed on her some days ago. "I'm worried about our students' safety ," she added.
Given the condition of the building, some parents have asked their children not to attend classes until safety measures are put in place. Gangamma Totad, a teacher, said many parents were not sending their wards to the school. A class VIII student, Ningappa Madiwal, has been asked by his parents to "forget school" till the building is repaired and declared safe.
Aishwarya Halli, another student, has sought permission from the school to allow her to study at home and directly appear for exams starting in March.