Kids in ‘homeschool’ as new building remains closed
CHENNAI: Every day for more than a year and half, 300 primary school students in Perumbakkam walk past a swanky building that is to be their school. But with the authorities yet to grant consent to inaugurate it, these children are now cramped inside makeshift classrooms in nine housing units.
Bhoomika, an NGO, had built the Ezhil Nagar panchayat union primary school building in Perumbakkam for children hailing from families that were evicted from the core city areas to the Tamil Nadu Habitat Development Board. The works were completed 18 months ago, but it is yet to be opened – allegedly due to the inability to get a Minister inaugurate it.
The makeshift space from where the school has been operating since 2016 is actually housing units inside the same complex, each with one room, one bedroom and a bathroom. There are no tables or benches, forcing the students to sit on the floor cheek to jowl. The stench from garbage, uncleaned toilets and overflowing sewer permeates the air, and stray dogs roam the area.
“When we were evicted from slums in Nungambakkam, Thousand Lights and Kotturpuram, they promised better quality of life and education for kids. But the situation is far from promising,” a parent of a student told DT Next. They are one of the more than 10,000 families ‘rehabilitated’ in Ezhil Nagar. The existing facility lacks drinking water, playground or even proper ventilation, said a person from one of the NGOs that work in the locality, alleging that the authorities were not extending support to them.
When contacted, a senior official from the School Education Department admitted that only minor works were pending at the new building. The department has contacted the offices of the Minister and Collector seeking a date to open the school, said the official.
A senior official from Chengalpattu district administration said the inauguration was delayed by flood alleviation works in the area. “The school is located in a low-lying area prone to floods,” he said, adding that it would be opened in a week.
Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!
Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!
Click here for iOS
Click here for Android