A. Narayanan says inspection committees should ensure ramps, staircase lighting and ventilation
Inspection committees of the School Education Department that are examining structures should ensure that the building code norms are followed, says an activist.
“The inspection committees should also comply with the recommendations of Justice Sampath Committee and the National Building Code,” said A. Narayanan, director of Change India, a non-governmental organisation which had filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court in 2017 asking schools in all districts to be inspected.
The High Court had instructed the School Education Department to constitute a committee in every district, headed by the chief educational officer and comprising experts to inspect all schools. The directorate should take note of the provisions of the National Building Code, the verdict read. Little headway was made even though major accidents were not reported.
School safety came into focus after 96 children perished in a fire in a school in Kumbakonam. In his writ to the Madras High Court in 2017, Mr. Narayanan listed deaths of 25 children within school premises between 2006 and 2017. Eight accidents between 2011 and 2017 were related to the wall collapse. Even well-known private schools had violated building code norms, he charged.
“It is an opportunity for the government to ensure safety of children. The committees should ensure that the building codes are strictly followed. Some private schools have wilfully violated norms by constructing fancy multi-storey structures. As per the norm, schools should be two-storey, including ground floor. The committee should ensure ramps, staircase lighting and ventilation,” he said.
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