Getting back to school after a long Diwali vacation did not start on a good note for 700-odd students of Nanik English High School in Thane (East). The school, which is situated inside Lal Mahal, a residential building, could not start as per routine on Monday as residents of the building refused to allow the institute to function until it cleaned and repaired its drainage system.
Sewer problem: Society secretary Sunanda Jadhav shows a drain leakage inside the school premises
Locals have been regularly complaining that the school’s sewer system is bunged up and filth keeps spilling onto the compound. Many are worried about the spread of dengue and malaria due to the runoff.
“The school occupies the ground floor and has 12 classrooms for over 700 students who come here in shifts. There are very few residents in the building, so obviously the drainage has been clogged by the school. For months, the society has tried to explain the situation to the school trustees, but there has been no reply from the authorities,” said Sunanda Jadhav, secretary of the society.
She added that the society has written to the trustees about regular overflowing of the drains, which leaves the compound in a mess and poses as a breeding ground for diseases. “Dengue and malaria are on the rise and with so many children studying at the school, the authorities should be a little more forthcoming and take care of this, but they haven’t budged on the issue,” added Jadhav.
The society members gave a final warning to the school and, on Monday, refused to allow the school to re-open. Teachers were seen waiting in classrooms while authorities informed students to stay at home. '
The classrooms were shut even though the school was supposed to reopen yesterday. Pics/Sameer Markande
“There are senior citizens in the building and we care for each other’s health. The authorities have been repeatedly stating that residential surroundings need to be kept clean. If they ever find out the state of our compound, they will fine the society members. We don’t want to endanger our lives or those of little children,” added Jadhav. She added that residents would not allow the school to function till the authorities clear the drainage.
While the school trustees were not available for comment, principal M Ghule told mid-day that clearing the drainage system is on the agenda.
“Our first priority now is to clean up the compound and clear the drainage pipes. The issue was on our agenda, but we could not find workers during Diwali vacation. Since the school was shut for holidays, we decided to sort this issue on the first day after reopening. Students will be called to school only after this work is done,” he said.