Ministry of Education hits out at PWD over shoddy construction work in Delhi schools

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi is embroiled in another controversy as one government department points the finger at another over the botched job being done. A letter was written on July 20, 2022 by the Delhi Ministry of Education, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, to the Department of Public Works headed by Satyendra Jain who is currently in jail. The letter complains about the poor quality of ongoing construction work in Delhi schools.

In the letter, the Ministry of Education, Government of Delhi tells the PWD, “As education is the priority sector for the Delhi NCT government and the government wishes to bring about qualitative changes in the education system with all facilities in terms of infrastructure, academics, hygienic and friendly atmosphere for better quality teaching.A number of complaints have been received from various schools regarding non-completion of works, use of poor quality materials and various shortcomings in the construction by PWD.These shortcomings hamper the very vocation of the Directorate of Education.A list of complaints received is attached as Appendix-‘A’ & ‘B’.

The letter further states, “Due to the above-mentioned complaints, the operation of the schools has been very difficult and also poses a threat to students, staff and school property. You are therefore requested to submit your comments on the complaints mentioned in the annexes.

The complaints listed in the appendix are given with details of the location of the school, the central issue of the complaint corresponding to that school and remarks on the latest action taken in this regard. Complaints include grievances regarding the slow completion of allotted work, heavy leaks at various locations in some newly constructed buildings during the warranty period, the use of poor quality materials in various works, and falling blocks of red stone or building tiles.

The letter also talks about excessive heights of rainwater harvesting systems in school buildings, newly constructed buildings, gaps in newly constructed school blocks, etc. One of the complaints even mentions that the condition of a school is unsafe and that it should be inspected as soon as possible.

Responding to the briefing, Bharatiya Janata Party National Spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “They gave a list of more than 15 schools with complaints about the school, the students, their parents and the staff…one of the complaints states that the construction of the school may fall at any time…This is the real condition of Delhi government schools.

Of note, Delhi’s PWD Minister Satyendra Jain was charged with money laundering in August 2017 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Based on the FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the ED filed a criminal case against the PAA leader, alleging that Jain could not explain the source of income received by four companies in which he was a shareholder . From 2010 to 2014, the companies allegedly laundered Rs 16.39 crore in cash. On May 30, the ED arrested Satyendra Jain under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. He is still in jail.