Friday, June 04, 2010

TRENCHES GREET SCHOOLKIDS

TRENCHES GREET SCHOOLKIDS
KPTCL digs up Madras Bank Road and Castle Street just days before eight schools in the vicinity reopen. School authorities and parents are fuming
MANASI PARESH KUMAR


The management of St Patrick’s Boys’ High School, on Madras Bank Road near Catholic Club, are a baffled and angry lot. Baffled because they cannot understand the logic behind KPTCL’s decision to dig up the area just before schools reopen, and angry because it puts their children in mortal danger.
“It’s virtually a death trap for our children. The traffic was murder as it is and now this illogical decision makes it even more dangerous for our students. We are very upset with the government for allowing the start of the project at the beginning of the academic year,” said Father Saignathan, parish priest of St Patrick’s Church and incharge of its educational institutions.
When KPTCL proposed the laying of an underground 220 kV cable connected to a gas-insulated substation in 2007, the ambitious plan promised to take Bangalore’s power scene to a new level. However, common sense seems to be lacking in its implementation. With eight schools within a radius of one-kilometre and over 20,000 children crisscrossing this very busy part of the Central Business District, it beats all logic as to why KPTCL chose to dig up the road just before schools reopen.
Vaishali Raghunath, whose daughter Meghana studies in Sacred Heart Girls’ High School, is scared to let go of her child’s hand even on the footpath (or whatever remains of it). “The government had two months of summer holidays to finish the project and yet waited till the children came back to school. I really don’t understand how their system works. Don’t they take into account the ground realities of the situation?” she remarked.
Gurvinder Chaddha, whose son Harpreet is a student of Cathedral High School, is more worried about the delays that invariably accompany civic works. “What I am worried about is that dug-up roads always takes months, if not years, to be covered up. Imagine sending your child to school in a situation like this,” she said.
But KPTCL says it is not at fault and has blamed BBMP for the delay. “We had applied for permission more than a year ago and BBMP just sat on it. Now that they have given the permission, we have begun work,” is what officials said. Mahadev C, chief engineer with KPTCL, however, said the project would mean more reliable power supply for the city. “The substation that will be situated opposite St Joseph’s Pre- University College will be compact and maintenance-free, and will ensure that power supply is continuous. We just need till next month to complete the project,” he said.
But till then, parents and escorts will have to be extra careful about their young wards.
AFFECTED SCHOOLS
— Sacred Heart Girls’ School — St Agnes Higher Primary
School — St Euphrasia’s School — Good Shepherd Convent — St Patrick’s Boys School — Cathedral High School — Bishop Cotton Girls’ High
School — St Anthony’s Boys’ School

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