After 30 years and 3 foundations, decks cleared for girls’ school in Ballimaran, but with a rider

It was in the late 1970s when the Senior Secondary Panama Building Girls School in the Kothi Nawab Loharu lane in Ballimaran was declared dangerous and moved to an alternative site near Jama Masjid. Yet to get a new building, the school has seen the foundation stone for it being laid thrice — twice by Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal and once before by the then Lt Governor K L Kapoor.

Around 30 years after the school was abandoned, plans for its new building were approved recently. For the residents of the area who have been sending their girls to government schools in other parts of Old Delhi, however, the good news came with a rider. "The school will have to share the site with a police post," said Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal, whose constituency includes Ballimaran, on September 18, the last time foundation was laid for the building.

While the post has been there for the last two decades, the residents are not happy with the idea of not relocating it once the new school starts functioning.

Naved Yar Khan, who has been fighting to have the police post shifted elsewhere, said: "According to the zonal development plan for the Walled City, there is sufficient number of senior secondary schools in Old Delhi, but they are ailed by space crunch."

Khan said he had written to several officials and politicians, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, to review the plan, adding that he was even ready to take the matter to court.

"There will be criminals and all other sorts of people coming to the school campus. It won't be safe for the girls," said Abdul Khaliq whose house is next to the site. For years, he too has been trying to mobilise support for a new school and get the police post relocated.

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