A deadly cocktail of negligent authorities, involvement of a powerful local politician, nonchalant owner of the school and spineless officials took the lives nine innocent children of Kangsali village of Tehri district.
On Tuesday, a Jeep ferrying children from Kangsali village to Angels International School located at Madan Negi town fell into a gorge killing nine children and injuring 11 others.
It has come to the notice of The Pioneer that had the authorities concerned acted firmly on the notice issued by the education department on July 17, 2019 and closed the school, the spectre of death which has now dawned over this sleepy village which has lost almost half of its children could have been prevented.
The Deputy Education Officer (Dy E O) of Jakhnidhar, Tehri, Dhanvir Singh had written a letter to the management of the Angeles International School, Madan Negi to close the school immediately as the school do not conforms to the norms of Right to Education (RTE). The said school was operating without the necessary recognition of the education department from last one and half years. The DyEO who was suspended by the state administration on the day of accident had marked the copies of his order to the District Education Officer (DEO), Chief Education Officer (CEO) of Tehri and Additional Director Primary education, Garhwal. However no action was initiated by the department or the administration to enforce the order. The suspended DyEO, Dhanvir Singh told The Pioneer that he received no order from his higher ups to enforce closure of the school. Shockingly when asked by this correspondent- why the order for closing the school was enforced,- the DEO, Tehri, Sudharshan Bisht said that it was management’s responsibility to follow the order. The CEO of Tehri, S P Semwal accepted that if the order of closure was followed, the lives of students could have been saved. He added that the school could have been closed either by lodging a FIR or with the help revenue department. Semwal said that an inquiry has been ordered in the case.
Incidentally Dy EO, Dhanvir Singh had also ordered closure of two other schools, Glorious Scholars Academy, Gadolia and Sundram Children School, Dung but the owners of these schools have ignored the orders.
Incidentally, the Angeles International School was served many notices by the education department from time to time for being operational without taking permission from the department.
In a letter dated August 8, 2018, DyEO, Dhanvir Singh had listed objections like employing untrained teachers and the school van operating in gross violation of norms.