The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) to complete all under-construction school projects in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) by June 22.
A three-member apex bench presided by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed conducted the hearing of a suo-moto case regarding the plight of government schools in the province.
The top court expressed its annoyance to chairman ERRA over the non-completion of the projects which were under the authority’s purview.
“ERRA officials are just taking salaries and benefits,” the CJP told the ERRA chairman. “If it had been your own children who were out of school then you would have worked,”
The authority’s head prayed that about 14,000 projects were to be completed, and that only 3,000 were left. “Education and health are our top priority,” he claimed.
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To this, the CJP responded that had education and health been the authority’s priority then the projects would have been completed by now.
“The earthquake hit areas and schools should have been built within a year,” CJP Ahmed said, adding that the schools, of which photographs were presented before the court, seem inactive.
Bench member Justice Qazi Amin said that the K-P government’s negligence had turned education into an industry.
“The college fee used to be Rs8, now it is Rs30,000 for school going children,” Justice Amin said. “It is the responsibility of the state to provide free education. The K-P government should not try to hide behind the ERRA,” he further stated.
The provincial advocate general prayed that so far 238 out of 540 schools had been completed.
The SC sought a progress report from the K-P government on the said projects and adjourned the hearing for a month.