Mumbai, Jun 19: Malabar Hill’s only school for the poor — Kavle Math School at Banganga — which caters to the children of nearly 20,000 slum-dwellers, is still awaiting renovation after it was demolished over a period of three years starting in 2003.
This has hit the students hard. “More than 600 children have dropped out in the last two years, fearing that the building will collapse,” said the principal Pramila Anyal.
The BMC had earmarked Rs 3 crore to rebuild the school three years ago. While the ground floor has been reconstructed, part of the structure hangs precariously and the remaining part has been demolished for renovation.
Although the school has over 1,000 students, the makeshift arrangement has no provision for toilets or ventilation.
While Marathi medium students study in sheds in the school compound, the ones who opted for Hindi have been housed in sheds 500 m away. Their condition is no better.
“There are five ICSE schools in the area, but just one municipal school to cater to 10 slums, ” said Pramod Mandrekar, local Congress councillor.
Six months more
According to BMC officials, the delay was caused because of differences between the contractors and the BMC. This has also increased the construction cost.
But an official from D Ward said, “Had the BMC set a deadline for the construction and punished the contractor, the building would have been ready by now.”
Kiran Choudhary, director, engineering services and projects, BMC, said, “The temporary sheds were completed only in June, delaying the work. The construction should be completed in the next six months.”
I walk over two km to bring my kids to school. I am scared as the school building is in bad shape.
Cycle shop owner
We cannot afford to send our children elsewhere. There are many schools for the rich here, but only one for the poor. Also, students’ lives are in danger.