HYDERABAD, Aug 25: Rangers who are using hostel of the historic Noor Mohammad High School as their lodgings for over two decades and have even rented out its premises to a private party are not ready to vacate the building nor is Sindh government interested in asking them to do so.
The law enforcers have made alterations in the hostel’s structure and rented out a room on the ground floor to a private party who has set up there office of a commercial housing scheme.
The hostel has 57 rooms, two halls, two superintendent halls, seven residential rooms, 18 bath rooms, a mosque and two kitchens. Besides being lodgings for Rangers, the premises of this beautiful and historic edifice house a canteen at the main gate, a medical store, a soft drinks shop and a public call office.
“We have obtained it on rent from Rangers,” said a man who gave only Khaid as his name and was sitting at the housing scheme’s office.
The commercial activity has so far gone unnoticed and correspondence by education officials with high-ups, seeking possession of the hostel, has yielded no results.
Besides, the management of Civil Hospital is also trying to get the hostel building for setting up its trauma and kidney ward. The director general of Rangers had agreed to vacate half of the building in a meeting chaired by then Chief Secretary Sindh on March 8, 2003 but later backed out of it and did not respond to reminders sent from time to time by hospital administration.
On the other hand, education officials have written endlessly to the high-ups seeking their help in getting back the hostel but their pleas have so far failed to stir them to action.
The hostel was inaugurated by Sir Leslie Wilson, then governor of Sindh, and its foundation stone plaque was laid by Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah, revenue and finance member of council of the government of Bombay, on Oct 30, 1933.
The Noor Mohammad High School was established by the then British rulers in 1888 who named it Hyderabad High School, which was then the only educational institution of the area. The school was named after Noor Mohammad Lakhair advocate after he succeeded in acquiring it from the British government in 1924.
In 1972, the school and hostel were nationalised by the government like other educational institutions.
The school’s building speaks volumes for decades of official neglect and gradually falls into decay but the governments always prefer to look the other way.
The schools’ headmaster Atta Mohammad Bozdar has estimated the cost of renovation work at Rs7.515 million. At present, work on repair of ceiling and rooftop is under way after it developed cracks and rainwater seeped through it into the classrooms.
More funds will be needed to ensure quality of renovation and refurbishment work to restore the old glory of once prestigious institution of the Muslims of subcontinent.
The school’s ground floor and walls need repair and whitewash. Benches, classrooms’ doors and windows have all but broken into pieces. There is only one toilet for the staff and poor electricity fittings pose a constant danger to students and teachers alike.
Students are compelled to study amid irritating noise of vehicles coming from outside as the school is located in the midst of city’s heavy commercial zone.
The water storage tank has become too rusty and developed too many leakages and water keeps dripping from its innumerable pores. Of the four water-coolers in the school only two are functioning.
The school owned 21 shops but they earn the institution only Rs9,765 monthly, which is in sharp contrast to open market rates. Thanks to headmaster’s efforts, the EDO of education has formed a committee to revise rent agreements. The school expects to earn enough from the rent to be able to carry out necessary construction and repair work of the worn-out building.