NHRC Issues Notice To Punjab Government Over Reports Of Poor Access To Education For Children In Border Village
The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report about lack of proper access to education facilities for children in the Sutlej surrounded border areas of Ferozpur district.
The press release by NHRC read thus "The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report about the plight of students, in Kaluwara village of Punjab, especially the girls, who have to first walk on foot in slushy banks of the river Sutlej then board a Berhi (a wooden boat) and cross the river to walk for another 4 kms along the border with Pakistan before finally reaching to the Government Senior Secondary School in Gatti Rajoke area of the district Ferozpur of the State."
The Commission has observed that as per the report during heavy rain, the river floods fields and homes, forcing the residents to spend days together on their roof tops.
It further stated that the village houses 50 families and has only one primary school and that most of the girls studying in the primary school, drop out after Class-V due to the extreme difficulties in getting to the schools for higher education.
"The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise issues pertaining to the apathy of the state authorities towards the Right to Education of the students as well as the Right to Life and Dignity of the people residing in the area. The State has a responsibility to ensure their safety and to safeguard their human rights by providing them an environment to live with dignity.", the press release dated November 17, 2022 read.
The Commission has issued a notice to the Punjab Government calling for a report along with the action taken report about the steps being taken or proposed to be taken to provide for better and hassle-free access to the students to the school in the area.
The Commission noted that the poor citizens cannot be left on their fate and to use a Berhi to cross a river daily to reach the school, market or their place of work.
As per the media report, the two girls, who have been attending high school said that sometimes they are the only ones on the Berhi without any boat man, which is maneuvered using an over head cable that is tethered to poles on either ends of the river bank.
It is also mentioned that sometimes the students have to wait for the Berhi for more than two hours.
NHRC is responsible for promoting and monitoring effective implementation of promotion and protection of human rights.