Students sweat it out as BMC sits on Rs 8 lakh power bill

The thirst for knowledge and an education may be the driving force for approximately 4,000 eager children studying in the Maharashtra Housing Board (MHB) Municipal School in Malvani, Malad (West), but the task is proving to be quite testing.

Students outside their classrooms in the Urdu medium section of the school at Malvani in Malad west.
Powerless: Students outside their classrooms in the Urdu medium section of the school at Malvani in Malad west. Pic/Nimesh Dave

With an unexpected rise in mercury levels in the city this October, the students have been sweating it out in their classrooms for want of fans since last week, as the institution has been facing a power crisis due to non-payment of electricity bills.

An electricity bill worth Rs 8 lakh is yet to be paid and the teachers and students are bearing the brunt.

In addition, the students have been exposed to unhygienic conditions, as the toilets on the premises cannot be cleaned regularly since lack of electricity has rendered the water pump is obsolete.

To top it all, the school does not even have water tanks or storage capacity for drinking water and the students have to carry water from home.
According to a source, this has been happening over a span of four years and every time the bills are left unpaid, supply is terminated. Each time, some portion of the payment is made and supply is resumed, only to be disconnected when the next billing cycle comes around. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), whose duty it is to ensure that the bills are paid on time, seems to be doing so at the very last minute.

A senior schoolteacher, requesting anonymity, said, “The dirty and unclean toilets could be a reason for the ill-health of some of the students studying here, and this is something our seniors should take care of. I have received many complaints from parents about their children studying in such pathetic conditions and I have forwarded the complaints to my seniors.”

The corporator of the area, Cyril D’souza, said, “I have forwarded the relevant letters to all the concerned authorities to take necessary actions in this matter, but nothing has been done yet. I wrote to the corporation after a few parents came to me complaining about the condition of the school. An electricity bill of approximately Rs 8 lakh is yet to be paid. I believe that once the bill is paid, electricity supply will resume and the issue will be resolved.”

Yamini Jadhav, member of the BMC’s Education Committee, said, “I will raise this issue in the next education committee meeting and will get it resolved so that the teachers and students don’t have to suffer.” 

Daily routine
The Maharashtra Housing Board (MHB) Municipal School in Malvani has around 42 classrooms, 12 being on the ground floor, 16 on the first and another 14 on the third. Each classroom has capacity to seat 50 students and the school runs two sessions, one in the morning and the second in the afternoon. The morning session begins at 7.20 am and ends at 12.30 pm and is attended by 2,100 students. The afternoon session starts at 1.00 pm and ends at 5.40 pm and is attended by 1,900 students. 

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