‘Burning furnace’ Niglok Sainik School continues to be plagued with issues

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 17 Oct: The Sainik School in Niglok in East Siang district is reportedly plagued with issues including absence of proper infrastructure and failure to start offline classes even after the education department has lifted the restriction on conducting offline classes.

A group of parents’ representatives had written a letter to the education commissioner on 20 September, raising grave concern over the prefabricated structures of the school.

According to the representatives, the classrooms, hostels and staff quarters of the school are no less than a “burning furnace.”

“So far, what we understood is that the prefabricated shed absorbs heat at the most and releases heat the least. This causes overheating. There is no proper ventilation (not a single ventilator could be found) and the number of windows are very few,” the representatives stated in the letter.

“Not only our children, but also the staff members who will reside there are sure to suffer a lot. Frequent power failure may also add fuel to the fire inside the shed,” they added.

The representatives further raised concern over the safety measures in the school and said that the “combustible materials of the prefabricated structures” are at risk from short-circuiting.

They also said that the tin roof over the verandah does not cover the verandah and should be extended. “The windows don’t have separate extended shades. This leads to sunlight and rainwater enter into room(s) through doors and windows,” they claimed.

The representatives also flagged the matter of safety and security of the wards, saying that a large portion of the school’s security wall has collapsed.

“We feel that the prefabricated structures are not up to the standards of living. The parents are completely reluctant to send their wards to a prefabricated structured school which is not at all fit for human living,” the representatives stated in the letter, and appealed to the education department to ensure early redress of the issues.

The representatives also sought to know why the school has not started offline classes despite the government’s directives.

“The present condition of Sainik School East Siang fails to motivate parents as well as cadets to dream high. Despite having well experienced expert staff and qualified teachers, the concerned authority utterly failed to execute its mission and vision. If this trend continues, then our children may not be able to compete in the NDA examination without proper training,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, it is reported that, following the flagging of the issues by the parents’ representatives, a coordination meeting was held on 15 October among the parents, the Sainik School authority, the DDSE and officials of the engineering wing of the education department.

Sources informed that the engineering wing’s executive engineer was assigned the task of rectifying the issues raised by the parents, including extending the roof shed, increasing the number of windows and providing shades, installing ventilators, etc.

The Sainik School started functioning from 27 August, 2018. The state government provides grant-in-aid of Rs 2.50 crores annually to the school. It is perhaps the only Sainik School in India to receive grant-in-aid from the state government.

Earlier, in April 2021, the Sainik School was rocked by unprecedented resignation of staffers. At least 18 employees either left or resigned from the school over the year, creating a major crisis for the school. Those who resigned include four regular TGTs, one regular nursing assistant, one regular driver, three regular LDCs, three regular general employees, five contractual general employees, and one regular UDC.

A few resignee staffers whom The Arunachal Times could get in touch with alleged that the en masse resignation took place due to victimization, harassment, unpleasant administration, unwanted politics in workplace, absence of good governance, non-payment of allowances, non-payment of salary on time, etc.

However, the then principal of the school, Lt Col Rajesh Singh denied the allegations, and instead claimed that the en masse resignation of the staffers was mainly because of “ill-infrastructure and depressing accommodation given to them.”

Lt Col Singh was transferred from the school following the controversy.

The new principal of the Sainik School, PK Pola called on the governor, the chief minister and the deputy chief minister last week and apprised them of the issues confronting the state’s lone Sainik School.