2800 students studying in Uttarakhand ‘forests’ sans school buildings

Around 2800 students in Uttarakhand still study in make-shift schools made of huts and kutcha structures as they lack proper school buildings. These schools are situated in forest areas of Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar district, informed officials.

As per the record of the education department, there are 62 such schools in the state for primary and upper primary sections.

Officials from the education department said that as students studying in these schools live in the forest areas, they are unable to construct buildings for these schools.

Mukul Kumar Sati, additional state project director for Samagra Siksha Abhiyan said that the education department has to run the schools there as students live there, but they are not able to construct permanent structures.

“We have to run schools wherever there are children, in this case, they live inside forest areas. There are 50 primary schools and 12 junior high schools situated inside forest areas of Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar districts. There are teachers available but we cannot make permanent school building as the forest department says it will be considered as encroachment,” said Sati.

He further said that the officials are trying to find a solution to the issue, but till then students will have to continue studying in make-shift schools.

Meanwhile, officials from the forest department say that permission needs to be taken for transferring land forest land for making the school buildings.

Harak Singh Rawat, state forest minister said that talks are underway with the state education department to send a combined proposal regarding all the schools.

“We have to ensure that all our children get education, which is why I have asked officials to send a combined proposal for all the schools which can be sent to the union government for land transfer and once we get permission the school buildings can be constructed. We understand that it is a long process, but I am hopeful that we will get permission as education is equally important,” said Rawat.

The minister further added that it is important to build the schools as the students remain in constant fear of attack from wild animals which can lead to conflict.

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