Gases emitted by generators in schools make children sick


JALANDHAR: Children these days are taking in mouthfuls of toxic gases, carbon particles and intolerable decibels of noise as private schools, in defiance of the government orders, are running their schools on generator sets. With power cuts starting from 7 am, there are classrooms where the children can hear nothing from the teacher.

The students of Khosla School of Deaf and Dumb in Udham Singh Nagar have an over-sensitive sense of smell. They may not be disturbed by the noise but the smell of gases spewed by the over dozen hospitals’ gensets in the neighbourhood is more than what their systems can take. Now they are tortured by one in their school. "It is disturbing for the teachers, but we are helpless," said the principal BS Bhatia.

The students of Sarvhitkari Vidya Mandir are sandwiched between the giant gensets of Green Restaurant and Allahabad Bank.

"We have about 135 children on our rolls. It is hell for them," says Sarvada Sharma, principal. NC Model School in Jalandhar Cantt is situated in a maze of narrow by-lanes. Smoke and noise is the students daily fate these days.

Dayanand Model School and Guru Amardas Public School throw their poisonous gases at each other in Model Town. In between is an MC park, where not a single blade of grass is to be seen.

There is a minimum of twohours’ cut during school time these days, it is learnt. Guru Tegbahadur Nagar, Tagore Public School and Rabindra Senior Secondary school have also opted for gensets. Innocent Hearts Public School in Housing Board Colony starts pumping out smoke from the moment school opens. And so does CT Public School Maqsoodan.

This trend is not confined to Jalandhar, other smaller towns of Doaba are facing a similar situation. It has been learnt that all over Punjab private schools are open. To tide over the power crisis almost all have bought generators.

Also, wherever the semester system exists the exams are round the corner and they can’t afford to close down. The fate of some schools is worse, especially those who do not have space to blow out the smoke. One such school is Doaba Arya School in Nurmehal. The genset is placed inside the school and the smoke is sent full blast into the students’ faces.

Even colleges share a similar fate. Arya College for Women in Nurmehal has also installed a genset. The smoke fills at least six classrooms of this college. "Earlier students used to study sitting in the cool shade of the banyan trees. Is it worth it, making them sit through the noise and pollution," questions Dr Nirmal Singh, spokesperson of Dharat Suhavi, an ecology-conscious NGO.