Furore over fire safety norms in schools

The Legislative Council witnessed heated debate over the Education Department’s circular to private schools on implementing fire safety measures. Members representing teachers’ constituencies took the Government to task and demanded that the circular be withdrawn.

JD(S) member K.T. Srikante Gowda, who started the debate, said as per the Supreme Court’s ruling, the State Government had issued the circular to schools. The regulations were mandatory only for private schools. “Can the Government implement the guidelines in its schools?” he wanted to know.

Marithibbe Gowda, who joined the issue, said if the Government did not withdraw the circular he would stage a protest by closing all schools across the State. Members in the treasury benches, including Minister J.C. Madhuswamy, took serious exception to Mr. Gowda’s statement.

Puttanna of the BJP continued the debate by narrating his experience as head of a private institute. Initially, he was told that he would have to spend about ₹54 lakh to ensure fire safety measures in the school. The expenditure came down to ₹14 lak after he consulted senior officers and enquired further. “Schools are not in a position to spend so much now. Private schools have to produce 61 forms, duly obtained from various agencies, to get the permission renewed. The whole process is to entertain corruption,” he said.

Minister for Primary and Secondary Education B.C. Nagesh said he would look into the issue and take appropriate decision after consulting the Chief Minister.

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