Govt school students in dark as discom cuts power supply

Zeenat Mahal Sr Secondary owed Rs 22 lakh in pending electricity bill

Students are being forced to sit in classrooms with no lights and fans in a government-run school in Jafarabad, north east Delhi since August 22 as the power discom BSES has disconnected electricty for non-payment of its bill.

Zeenat Mahal Senior Secondary School’s unpaid bill amounts to Rs 22.38 lakh. School authorities confirmed that there has been no power supply for the past one week but did not give an official confirmation of non-payment of the bill.

Children have filed several complaints before school authorities but to no avail, students allege.

“We have been asking our teachers and the principal if we will get electricity soon. But they give excuses every day. We have seen some men disconnecting the power connection in the school. The principal even ran after them,” said Asif, a class 11 student.   
Children complain of dark classrooms with no ventilation. They say that because there are no lights, the teachers also skip classes which is hampering their studies.

Since there is no electricity, the school is not able to provide water as well which is leaving toilets unclean and children are being forced to get water from home.  
Sahana, a local activist, had also approached the principal to enquire about the children's complaints.

“The school authorities did not speak with me and I got to know from some children in the school that they have been threatened that if they raise their voices against the school for not having a power supply, then their names will be cut from the school's register,” she said.

Despite several complaints, school authorities did not take any corrective steps.  Sahana and some students approached lawyers. Lawyer-activists have now moved the High Court, saying nearly 9,000 students and school staff are suffering due to sheer negligence of the school authorities.

The activists blamed the school as well as the power distribution company. “BSES is also obliged to protect the right to education of students so we have submitted that the BSES is equally negligent towards this issue,” said Ashok Agarwal, advocate and RTE campaigner.

The hearing in the case is scheduled on Tuesday.

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