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Student dies as school building collapses Thursday, June 28, 2001
By a Civic Reporter, The Times of India News Service
AHMEDABAD, June 27: All misgivings about unsafe school buildings and the reluctance of parents to send their wards to schools damaged in the quake were, after all, well-founded!
Eight-year-old Sheikh Aftab Alam was crushed to death on Tuesday when a wall of his school building near Rakhial fell on him. The school had reopened on Tuesday after a five-month break following the January 26 quake.
Alam, a student of Class 2, breathed his last at 11 am in the municipal school premises at Rajpur before the fire brigade could pull him out from under the debris.
Following Alam's death academic activities in the municipal schools were, once again, put off till June 30.
Repair of municipal school buildings in the city have been a victim of political one-upmanship involving the Congress-run AMC and the BJP-led state government.
While the AMC promptly ordered a departmental enquiry into the episode, its authorities seemed more interested in shifting the blame on to the principal of Rajpur municipal school Number 17 and 18 in Sunderamnagar.
The building was one of the 17 municipal schools that were to be demolished after structural engineers from Indore categorised them as irreparable. On Tuesday, as many as 11 teachers and 129 children reached the school premises at 7.30 am and parted soon after the assembly was held, as the building was not in a condition to be used.
Alam, who was to attend the afternoon school session had just entered the premises when the wall collapsed on him, according to AMC municipal commissioner Kailashnathan.
Municipal school board chairman Ganpat Parmar said apart from putting off academic activities, he would ensure that no one entered the 81 school buildings that had been declared dangerous.
The commissioner went a step ahead and said that the authorities would ensure that the 101 "dangerous" school buildings out of the total 247 in Ahmedabad remained out of reach of students and staff.
The partial collapse of a school building in Maninagar on June 15 had resulted in suspension of all academic activities in municipal schools till June 25.
While Mayor Himmatsinh Patel agreed there had been a "slight" delay in repair and retrofitting of the municipal school buildings, Parmar put the blame on the lackadaisical attitude of officials of the AMC's engineering department.
News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]