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Students at risk as rickety school building gets new floor

  • Published at 01:46 am November 22nd, 2019
A new floor is being built on the ramshackle single-storied Bhateshwar Government High School in Barura, Comilla Dhaka Tribune

A new floor is being constructed on top of the dilapidated building, without first renovating the old ground floor, locals alleged

Almost 300 students of Bhateshwar Government High School in Barura upazila of Comilla, are going to school while its building is still in construction, with a new floor being added to the previous ram-shackled building.

Education Engineering Department (EED) authorities, of the Ministry of Education, are turning the single-storied building into a two-storied one, costing Tk69 lakh, disregarding the associated risk of a sudden collapse of the structure, ministry sources.

Established in 1995, Bhateshwar Government High School was built with a six-storied foundation capacity. However, just after 10-15 years, portions of the ceiling started to loosen up and cracks started developing around the school building. 

A new floor is being constructed on top of the dilapidated building, without first renovating the old ground floor, locals alleged. Four rooms are to be constructed on the second floor and one on the first.

Frustrated locals have objected over the social media in this regard and have demanded a proper renovation of the previously ramshackled building before the construction of the new floor.

Locals Sumon, Bijoy, Faruque, and Basar, on the other, questioned the authority's decision to waste the allotted money in the old and dilapidated building, when a brand new building can be built instead. 

Md Sobhan, general secretary of Bhateshwar Social Welfare Foundation, said: "The construction of the two-storied building is almost finished and it would be a disaster if it suddenly collapses in future. I hope the EED is  not risking the lives of our children."

The newly appointed headmaster of the school, Jamal Hossain, said since he had joined the school just a few days ago, he is not able to give his two-cents on the matter of building safety.

School Committee President Tofazzal Hossain assured the development project was going ahead while maintaining building codes and said: "The EED engineers have evaluated the condition of the building and approved its construction.

"If the building foundation was not strong enough, the construction would not have been given the green signal. The locals are simply exaggerating," he added.

Quoting the school committee president, Comilla EED Deputy Director Md Ali Imam said: "The building was made in 1995 with a six-storey capacity. It is unclear why the locals are questioning our decision and pressing unnecessary concern and protesting over the matter."

"We will renovate the old building after construction of all five rooms," he added.