Tribune survey on fire safety an eye-opener

The Tribune survey on fire safety in the schools in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Chandigarh shows that there is no dearth of Kumbakonam type of schools in every city and major town in this region. This should be the state of affairs throughout the country. There is total apathy and callousness in the attitude of the government and school authorities towards children. The government which is busy with political issues like Indo-Pak parleys does not have time to attend to the plight of the citizens of tomorrow.

Are there no guidelines in this country on the location of schools, the type of buildings and safety measures they must have? In India today, private schools have become a profitable business with little risk. In my opinion, all the Kumbakonam-type of schools should be derecognised, not to mention thousands of unauthorised schools functioning illegally in cities and towns.

APOORVA, Student, Jaspal Kaur Public School, New Delhi




By conducting a comprehensive regional survey of educational institutions with regard to the safety of school children, The Tribune has done a highly commendable public service. What happened in Kumbakonam could have happened anywhere in India. It is yet another reminder of just how cheap life is considered in this country and how callous the authorities have become.

In many towns, the schools still run in congested areas, fire safety equipment is practically non-existent with no emergency exits. As the survey reveals, training is not considered necessary for the school staff to handle such incidents.

Will our politicians and top officials learn not to compromise on basic standards? Will they learn to enforce the rules laid down by the law of the land? Will our children get a congenial environment as to be the architects of modern India?

K.M. VASHISHT, New Delhi


Apropos of the editorial “Schools fail fire test” (July 28), fire incidents when occur, prove fatal, if contingency measures are not kept ready. Though it is an essential requirement for every school to be competent enough to tackle these types of misfortunes for its affiliation, yet everyone manages to obtain OK certificate without fulfilling all the safety conditions.

The Tribune’s exercise in making realise the intensity of the problem may be helpful to awake the administration, but appropriate results will be visible only when the school authorities develop a determination, a commitment in them to do the same without fear of administration. Students can be taught and made to learn to tackle fire incidents under the aegis of NCC, NSS, Scouts, youth camps, etc.

Entry and exit points in the classrooms should be managed in such a way as to have minimum congestion. The parents-teachers associations can be helpful in managing this affair. I feel, this agenda has never been taken seriously by the school authorities. Otherwise, most schools in the region can do well in it, if they give priority to this issue. The post-Kumbakonam fire period should serve as a start of new awakening.

Dr ANUP K. GAKKHAR, Reader, Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar City


In her front-page article on the Kumbakonam tragedy (July 27), Pushpa Girimaji fixed responsibility on government officials who have permitted directly or indirectly to run this type of school. She should have also called for the state governments to enact stringent laws to monitor the functioning of privately managed schools.

As a writer specialising on consumer affairs, Pushpa has been highlighting the need for consumers to wake up against such errant people. It is equally necessary for the governments to bring effective laws to check and control the malfunctioning of schools.

C.L. KUKKAR, Fazilka (Punjab)

Slums at what cost?

Whenever the Chandigarh Administration initiates anti-encroachment drive against slums, the politicians put hurdles on the way. The BJP did this before the Lok Sabha elections. Now the Congress is doing it.

Former Mayor Lalit Joshi says: “Where should these people go?” May I ask: Where should we go and why should we bear this nuisance after spending hard-earned savings on building our houses?

Panchkula, Chandigarh’s satellite town, is full of slums with politicians’ blessings. HUDA has spent crores on Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex, Gymkhana Club and the 18 holes golf course, all in Sector 3 opposite Sector 21. The jhuggi dwellers of Madrassi and Azadpur colonies defecate in and around these complexes. Sector 21, the most affected by slums, stinks with human excreta. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal once promised to make Panchkula “more beautiful than Switzerland”. Now his own people are encouraging slums.

Slum dwellers contribute little by way of taxes; they only contribute to population and pollution. I appeal to all to take pity on us, the citizens, and save Chandigarh and Panchkula from the menace of slums. Let us feel proud of being the residents of City Beautiful. Help the slums but not at the cost of society at large.

T.D. KUMAR, Panchkula


Unusable road

The condition of the road which connects Fatehgarh Churian with Amritsar  (via Sangatpura, Chetanpura) is horrible. Big pits can be seen near Springdale School on this road, near Ball Khurd village and at the entrance of Fatehgarh Churian. Motorists passing through this stretch are having a harrowing experience. Villagers are also facing problems. I appeal to the Punjab Chief Ministers and others to get this stretch repaired and make it usable.

HAPPY, Chetanpura (Amritsar)

Of K’s & Q’s

Saroop Krishan’s middle “Mind your K’s and Q’s” (July 31) made not only interesting reading but also very useful to dispel doubts from the minds of non-Urdu knowing people the different sounds of Ks and Qs.

As a humble student of Urdu language, I would like to add that Iqbal (prosperity-luck-fortune) if written as Ikbal (one hair) will make a lot of difference.

To avoid any doubt from minds of readers, I may clarify that Iqbal means confession (Aetraaf) also. Well, one word can have different meanings in different context.

Dr. H.K. LALL, Chandigarh

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