Gilgit residents oppose reopening of schools

About 4,000 students are enrolled under the Public School and College with separate buildings for women and boys.

Shabbir Mir August 20, 2010

GILGIT: While the scarcity of petroleum products has brought life to a standstill across Gilgit-Baltistan, educational institutions have resumed classes, irking hundreds of parents who have yet to recover from the destruction brought upon by the unprecedented floods.

About 4,000 students are enrolled under the Public School and College that have separate buildings for women and boys up to graduation.

“It’s really unjustified. The administration must realise the hardship faced by people,” said Khurram, a resident of Gilgit whose children are enrolled in the school. He added that the administration is indifferent to the problems faced by most of the families, even though the attendance has been thin. No school other than public school and colleges has opened after the devastating floods that have killed nearly 200 people in G-B.

G-B has not been in contact with the rest of the country since July 28, after landslides damaged Karakoram Highway (KKH) in several places, and floods swept away at least four major bridges. The prolonged blockage has triggered a food and fuel crisis across the region.

Traffic on roads has decreased considerably as diesel shortages intensified, forcing people to walk on foot in order to carry on their routine lives. Long queues of cars near petrol stations have become a daily norm and, according to reports, clashes between diesel seekers and security forces have ensued on several occasions.

“We call for the government’s intervention in getting the school closed for some more days,” said Ishtiaq, a father of an enrolled student.

According to school administration, those unable to attend their classes owing to non-availability of fuel can commute by school buses. However, parents rejected the offer saying, “The school buses are already full to capacity.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2010.


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