Saturday, January 3, 2009

Malls in place of Schools - Does MCD care about Education Infrastructure for coming generations?

Dear Friends,

I am pained at the insensitivity and perhaps the "it doesn't affect our children for they don't go to MCD's third grade schools for the poor" mentality of the MCD decision makers who don't seem to care! There are approximately 3-5 lacs of children in Delhi who have no access to schools. Schools are very important infrastructure that we create for future generation. Given the space constraint in Delhi, I don't think there will be any space left to create schools once the premises earmarked for some 60 schools is given away to the malls and hotels. I am not against malls and hotels and development but just looking at 2010 games and to make money by selling this land - the MCD has no right to play with future generations!

This children don't come to these schools because these schools have been allowed to decay and degrade to the extent that no parent is intrested to send their children. Instead of upgrading the quality of education and attracting and targeting the out-of-school children, MCD is using the excuse that children don't come to these schools and there is no harm in giving these premises to hotels and malls!! This is absolutely ridiculous!

Please don't take away little available play and education spaces from children in the name of development. This is a cruel joke played on the right to education and neigbourhood school concept. Where will the children of these localities go to study and play if you turn these open spaces in to hotels and malls??

Subhash Chandra Vashishth

15 MCD schools may be turned into malls, hotels
Nitin Sethi & Ruhi Bhasin TNN

New Delhi: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has hit upon a unique plan to bolster its finances: the civic body proposes to auction 60 school campuses for construction of malls and hotels even as it struggles to cater to the educational needs of nine lakh children, mainly from poor families, enrolled in MCD schools. A proposal to auction 15 of the identified schools has been forwarded to the MCD commissioner even as the corporation faces increasing pressure to cater to more students. Interestingly, MCD had originally planned to sell off only nine schools but has now increased the number to be eventually auctioned to 60.

65% of primary schools in city run by MCD.
60 campuses to be auctioned
Proposal to sell 15 schools sent to MCD chief
School in Ashok Nagar is on 1.5 acres; another in Moti Nagar East (2,350sqm) — all areas where no fresh land is available MCD says schools are unused; experts say 3-5 lakh children in city have no access to primary schools

Schools lying vacant is MCD explanation

New Delhi: MCD had originally planned to sell off nine schools but has now increased this number to 60. The MCD’s reasoning is that the schools are lying vacant and unused. But the civic body seems to have forgotten that it is mandated to provide an essential service through its neighbourhood schools and not to hand over prime plots to developers. The demand for
schools, in particular those offering education at reasonable costs, is unlikely to flag.

Confirming MCD’s plans, Prithviraj Sahni, chairman of the education committee, told TOI, ‘‘We have identified 60 schools that have been lying vacant. A proposal to auction 15 has been forwarded to commissioner K S Mehra.’’ While MCD seems to be eyeing schools — some of them by its own admission in good condition — as lucrative land to be sold off to earn a few big bucks, experts point out that an estimated 3-5 lakh children have no access to primary schools,
considering the city’s large migrant population. MCD’s refusal to consider reviving the schools is surprising, considering the Delhi government has repeatedly asked the corporation to hand over the campuses to it as state government-run schools are overflowing with students and lack space and infrastructure. MCD runs roughly 65% of primary schools in the Capital. While Sahni said the corporation was moving ahead to auction the schools, the MCD commissioner, on the other hand, claimed he was not aware of any such proposal. While 15 schools are up for grabs, Sahni said the other 45 would be used by MCD for different purposes. TOI accessed the
list of schools MCD plans to break down and it throws some light on why MCD wants to sell them off — some of them are sitting on large plots in areas where no fresh land is available. In Ashok Nagar, the school likely to go on the block occupies 1.5 acres. The one in Karanpur sits on 3,158 sqm while the campus in Moti Nagar East has a 2,350sqm plot. Said Vijendra Gupta, MCD standing committee chairman, ‘‘If such a proposal comes before us, we will carry out a detailed study. We will ensure that it is in public interest.”

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