NEW DELHI: Following a massive fire tragedy in a coaching centre in Surat, Gujarat, on Friday that resulted in 22 deaths, mostly teenaged students, the country could see the regulation of coaching centres for the first time.
The fire in a four-storey coaching centre building in Surat, which reportedly did not have any safety equipment in place, had started due to a short circuit and led to many people suffocating or jumping off from the building.
In view of the incident, India’s apex child rights body is now set to move a proposal to the Union Women and Child Development and Human Resources Development Ministries for coming up with comprehensive guidelines for such centres.
Officials in the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said that the body has been mulling to find ways to make coaching centres more accountable but that is imperative now.
In view of the rising instances of suicides of IIT-Joint Entrance Examination and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test aspirants in Kota-the coaching capital of India-the Commission had begun an inquiry, which was stayed by the Jaipur High Court three years back.
“But now, we will come with guidelines on basic infrastructure requirements, facilities, fee-structure, hours of study and qualification of teachers and urge the WCD and HRD Ministries to get those adopted by the states,” NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo told this newspaper.
The Commission meanwhile has sought a report from the Gujarat government on the Friday’s incident and will issue directions after the responsibility of the tragedy is fixed, he added. The Commission will also try to get a national mapping of coaching centres done and the matter will be discussed in the Commission’s upcoming board meeting.
Sources in the government said that the coaching centres have largely been left unregulated as any step to regulate them could be seen as “legitimizing” them.
“The Centre has had no direct view on the mushrooming and spread of coaching centres over the past several years and therefore no move was ever made to make any rules for them,” an official in the HRD Ministry said.
Meanwhile, the NHRC on Saturday sent a notice to the Gujarat government over the fire. The National Human Rights Commission also observed that mere announcement of compensation to the aggrieved families cannot be a solution to such hazards.