BELAGAVI: A shocking decision by the management of a government-aided high school in Fraser Town not to pay up its water bills has resulted in a daily nightmare for its students. With the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) disconnecting water supply to the institution, 149 students of Fatima Girls High School studying in Classes 8 and 9, and writing their annual exams have been left without drinking water or even for use in the restrooms for the last one week. The school staff have been borrowing water from neighbours and stocking them in containers to ensure at least the bare minimum requirement is made available. The 56-year-old school also has 85 students studying in Class 10 but they are not affected right now as they are writing the exams at other centres.
When this reporter visited the school on Coles Road for a reality check, the drinking water taps were dry and the toilets were unhygienic with no water in any of them. Five uncovered containers had been stocked with water along a narrow corridor. No one was clear when the situation will ease at the school.
“The total dues from the school is `83,000,” said H M Ravindra, Chief Engineer (Maintenance), BWSSB. Asked why some leniency was not shown as students were suffering, he said, “How long can be we keep permitting non-payment of our bills? The rules are same for all.” While he said the water supply was disconnected three months ago, three independent sources confirmed that there had been no water supply for the past one week only.
Parents were also upset about a gate being put up by the management recently to ensure that the space available for the students is restricted. “The children used to have their food in the shade earlier and there was a little space but even that is blocked for them now,” said an individual who did not want to be named.
A professional doctor, N Ashok Kumar, says he is the owner of the school as well as the PUC and other institutions. All of them are run by a charitable institution, Bangalore Bharath Social Service League.
“I have been paying the water bills for the school all along. I decided to stop doing it for the last one year. It is the job of the headmistress to collect money from the students to pay the water bills. I do not know if it has been done or not. But I am not going to pay it,” Kumar told Express. Strangely, no one has made any effort to approach the BWSSB or any government department for help. All were merely hoping that water might be available when the new academic year starts in June. There is a case pending in court for over a decade over the ownership of the land and the school.