Students have been living with broken sewerage pipes, cracked corridors and weak railings
Sewerage pipes of Tsamang Primary school’s boys’ hostel in Mongar have been broken for more than a year now.
This has put the health of 38 students staying there at risk. While they are helpless in addressing the foul ordure, the boys pour buckets of water to wash off the strewn waste every morning. The hostel was built four years ago. Tsamang PS is located about 70kms away from Mongar town and has 127 students including day scholars. The school has six teachers and five non-teaching staff.
A class six student Jigme Rinzin, said that they have been living with the problem of foul smell and unhygienic surrounding since the beginning of last year. “The environment is not conducive for learning and it is affecting our studies,” he said.
He also said that the school faces water shortage and maintaining cleanness has become worse. “We fall sick often and washing our clothes has become a difficult chore,” he said.
Every time there is a water shortage, the staff and caretaker walk for four hours to the water source to repair the plumbing.
Besides the sewerage issue, the hostels’ corridors are also falling apart. Another class six student, Sonam said that the chances of the ceiling collapsing onto the wooden railings are high. She said the corridor’s floor has developed cracks and are yet to be repaired.
Warden Jurmi Choeda said they are facing an acute shortage of water. “Scarcity of water is the main problem for students here,” he said.
He said that every year, the cracks along the corridor get wider while the railing’s planks have loosened. “Given the risk it poses to the students, I have informed the school principal about the need for maintenance,” he said.
Matron Karma Zangmo said that although the structure were constructed only four years ago, it could crumble should an earthquake strike or in case of a storm. There are 38 students at the girls’ hostel.
School principal Kinzang Wangdi said that the hostel structure and toilets were not too old to develop cracks and weaken. “The school has no budget for maintenance and I have informed the dzongkhag education sector for budgetary support,” he said.
He also said that everyday, the students, non-teaching staff and teachers go to the water source located afar for maintenance, which is an arduous task.
Dzongkhag education officer Ugyen Thinley said that the structures are not old and that the damages are not major. “For this reason, we cannot allocate a maintenance budget and we have asked the school and the community to repair the damages,” he said.
Tashi Phuntsho | Mongar