How long will students of this Noida school inhale toxic fumes?
Even after leaving no stone unturned to find a solution to the stinking irrigation drain running along Kothari International School's boundary for two years, the problem persists.
A stinking irrigation drain running along Kothari International School's boundary wall in Sector 50, Noida, has been a bane for hundreds of schoolchildren and teachers for years.
Manju Gupta, the school principal, said the issue had been brought to the notice of the Prime Minister Office, UP Chief Minister Office, district magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar, chief executive officer of Noida Authority and chief secretary of the state repeatedly over the past two years, nothing has been done.
Gupta said the open drain gave off toxic fumes, which was a health risk to both students and teachers. The drain also attracted mosquitoes and other insects and students were forced to wear well-covered clothes as a precaution against them.
"The school management, as well as the principal, have written to Noida Authority and PMO several times, but nothing has been done about this issue," said Advocate Pritam Kothadiya, whose daughter is a student at Kothari. "Tired of this bureaucratic attitude, the school started to cover the drain at its own expense. About Rs 30 lakh was spent, and one fine day the work had to be stopped as the authorities said the school was not allowed to cover the drain. The government agencies don't do their work. Neither do they allow anyone else to do something about a problem. The ones who are suffering are the kids. I have written to the PMO about the problem again."
Saumya Srivastava, deputy CEO of the Authority, said he had asked his subordinates to prepare an estimate to cover the drain. According to a directive issued by National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2014, however, open drains are not to be covered, as that increases the toxicity levels and becomes a bigger threat for those living in the vicinity. "Our lawyer has appealed to the NGT to allow covering certain portions of the drain, as it poses a health risk to hundreds of children," said Srivastava. "If we get a go-ahead on it, we will not waste any time and cover the sections closest to the school."