If you think your children are safe in school, you better think twice as nearly 85 per cent of schools in Salcete are yet to comply with the fire safety standards putting the lives of hundreds of children at risk.
Ironically, even government primary schools have failed to comply with the fire safety standards and do not possess even basic fire extinguishers in their premises.
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had issued directions to schools in the aftermath of the fire tragedy in Lord Krishna Middle school in Kumbakonam-Chennai in which nearly 90 children had lost their lives.
The Supreme Court had issued directions that all the schools have to be inspected by government-certified engineer once every two years and issued stability certificate if the building is found to be in good condition. It had also said that all safety precautions ought to be taken and the school could lose its licence to operate if the measures are not implemented.
The Supreme Court had also issued notices to all the states and Union territories over meeting the highest fire safety standards in providing education in a safe environment while the states and Union territories had filed affidavits before the court about safety of their schools and their improvement.
A random survey conducted by ‘The Navhind Times’ has revealed that little or no measures have been taken to improve the conditions which include installing adequate fire extinguishers, provide water tanks and separate piping with hose reels to ground floor and first floor among others.
Highly-placed sources in the fire department requesting anonymity informed that majority of the schools have not applied for fire safety permissions despite the fire department conducting periodical demonstrations.
He said that even private schools have failed to comply with fire safety norms and majority have not applied for permissions while some schools have only fitted fire extinguishers in their premises which may not be good enough to tackle a major fire.
He said that the schools also need to have proper place for evacuation in case of an emergency adding that thus far just about 10-15 per cent of the schools in Salcete have complied with the requirements.
He said that a major problem faced by most schools are that the structures are relatively old and have just about two exits and could become a problem incase of an emergency hence the schools need to make alternative arrangements to be prepared for any eventuality.
A parent A Dias said that schools not meeting safety standards are a matter of great concern for all parents and the education department needs to look into the matter seriously and issue necessary directions to all schools to comply with safety standards.
Another parent R Naik said that the government should look into the matter seriously and take necessary steps which will prevent damage caused incase of a tragedy and the PTAs need to question the school management and push them to ensure that the schools are safe.
Source:: The Navhind Times