attock - Within  three  years of its completion, four classrooms of Govt Boys High  School No.2 Hazro town of Attock district  which were constructed under United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) funded project have started crumbling, with major cracks in walls and beams and leaking pipes and roofs – forcing management to lock them down.

Four class rooms were constructed with the financial assistance of UNCHCR costing millions of Rupees under the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas programme(RAHA) with the title of “Improvement of Educational Facilities for Afghan Refugees and Host Communities in Punjab” and project was executed by Participatory Rural Development Programme (PRDS) in year 2017 but soon after its completion, cracks started surfacing  in the newly-constructed classrooms due to alleged utilisation of substandard material and embezzlement of funds risking life and limb of students as well as teaching staff. Headmaster AltafHussain, when contacted, said that the roof and walls of these class rooms were in bad shape as apparently substandard material had been used due to which it had developed cracks and had become dangerous. He said due to cracks in the building the lives of students and teachers were at stake and they feared that the building may collapse any time. He said that he had informed the education department authorities, building department, district administration and execution agency of the project - Participatory Rural Development Society (PRDS) - but they had done nothing so far. Nisar Ali Khan, a social worker while talking to this scribe said that a healthy learning environment in schools is only possible when students and teachers are provided with adequate facilities, not only related to teaching and learning, but also safe and sound infrastructure.  

When contacted, Project Director PRDS said that the project was executed with the donation of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and after three months of handing over the building to the education department, complaints of seepage were received which were addressed by laying another layer of concrete over roof. He said that the agency has now received another complaint regarding cracks in the roof and pillars and consultation is being done with the professional structure engineers to examine the issue and address the problem.

When contacted Chief Executive Officer District Education Authority DrJavaidIqbalconfirmed that four classrooms constructed with UNCHR funding had started crumbling. He said that a team of education department led by District Officer Education (secondary) visited the school and monitored the condition of building. Responding another question, he said that the matter would also be taken up with UNHCR concerned authorities to draw their attention towards faulty construction practices by their contractors and engineers. Deputy Commissioner Attock Ali Annan Qammar while commenting on the issue said that the classrooms were constructed by hired contractor of UNCHR and the education authorities after consultation with building department would submit report to UNHCR for further course of action.  

The teaching staff, students and their parents appealed to the education department, district government and UNHCR to reconstruct the classrooms and save the lives of  students and others living near the premises and also demanded punitive action against those involved in this sub-standard construction.