15 Years After Earthquake, Some Schools Still Await Repairs

by Saifullah Bashir

SRINAGAR: On October 8, an earthquake of the intensity of 7.4 on the Richter Scale . Its epicentre was on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC in outskirts of Muzaffarabad.

A school building in Uri Bala awaits construction after collapsed in 2005 earthquake. KL Image

Because of its impact, large parts of the Jammu and Kashmir were impacted causing loss of lives and extensive damage to property. The earthquake also felt in parts of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh also.

Jammu and Kashmir lost 1350 people and 6,266 survived injured, mostly in Uri (Baramulla) and Tangdhar (Kupwara).

Fifteen years later, part of the destruction that the earthquake brought to key infrastructure in Uri and Tangdar is still awaiting repairs.

In two zones of Baramulla districts, Julla and Uri, almost every middle and primary schools were destroyed but the government is yet to repair these structures.

In Uri zone, a dozen of middle and primary schools are still in the same position. Despite several requests by people no action has been taken. Middle schools which include BMS (boys middle school) Uri, Banjaran, Mothal, Bala, Dara, Shiekh mohalla Nambla, GPS (girls primary school) Namla, Payean, Dawaran, Gaziabad, Bandi Garkote are either undergoing repairs or just waiting for the start of it.

Aftershocks

“Government started repair work on some structures but then they left them incomplete. Due to damaged structures, students have to give open classes in open fields” said Irshad Ahmed a resident of Uri.

It is the same story in Julla zone. In Julla almost half a dozen structures need immediate repair work.

BMS Gohallan, BMS Jullha, GPS Paranpilla, MS Sukdar, BPS Jabda and GMS Sadwani are some of the middle and primary schools which suffered damage in the 2005 earthquake but no action has been taken by authorities. Almost 1000 students are enrolled in these schools.

“Weather of Uri remains bad. In case of rain and harsh weather students take shelter of trees and sheets, to protect themselves from rain”, Irshad added.

Uncertain Times

According to residents, due to lack of infrastructure enrollment has been reduced. Students do not like to study in open fields.

While talking with DC Baramulla he said that “we will look into the matter”.

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