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BALAI RINGIN: SMK Balai Ringin has been advised not to close down the school.
According to a reliable source, the school has been experiencing shortage of water for more than a month.
Water woes pose a serious problem for the school considering the fact that there are 1,500 students and half of them are boarders.
In addition, out of the 103 teachers, 70 per cent of them are staying at the flat quarters provided by the school.
The source said there was a proposal that should conditions become worse, the school intends to apply to the Education Ministry for a temporary closure.
The divisional education officer, however, advised against such a proposal.
Classes, the source said, would continue as normal despite the inconvenience brought about by the water shortage problem especially to the teachers and their families who are staying at the flat quarters as well as the boarding students who cannot return on a daily basis.
“It is a lot of suffering for the teachers staying on the higher floors, for example, the fourth floor. Some have children and others, elderly.
“These teachers and their families are trying all means to bring as much water as possible up. But how much water can they carry?” a staff met at the school compound told DayakDaily.
He said since the water shortage started, some teachers who are staying in the boarding quarters have begun to commute daily from their villages which may be one or two hours away.
The whole school is now relying on the 6,000 litres of water sent by the Public Works Department daily.
Meanwhile, Balai Ringin assemblyman Datuk Snowdan Lawan acknowledged that the water shortage problem has been affecting SMK Balai Ringin since September.
He said he had contacted the relevant authorities since he was informed of the water woes in Balai Ringin.
“The authorities concerned, namely Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) and Ministry of Public Utilities have been duly informed on Sept 15, 2017.”
“To alleviate the shortage of water, SAWAS has been sending 6,000 litres of water per day to the affected school,” said Snowdan in a press statement today.
He said as the elected representative of the area, he has been closely monitoring the situation in Balai Ringin.
“As the YB, I have been monitoring closely and receiving reports about the situation on a daily basis. Besides low pressure, investigations carried out have confirmed that there are major leakages along the pipelines.
“The question of when the problem will be solved will very much depend on when the relevant authorities can identify and rectify the problem,” said Snowdan who is also Youth and Sports Assistant Minister.
He said all he could do is monitor the situation as technical problems would have to be resolved by JBALB or MPU.
“As far as I know, further checks are being done to determine the locations of leakages. Anything further technical questions are for SAWAS or MPU to explain.
“In the meantime, I will keep monitoring, and checking with the school and the authorities concerned,” said Snowdan.
Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi when contacted said the Rural Water Supply Department is already assessing the situation.
“JBALB is already assessing the situation and we will decide the next course of action and meanwhile, we will provide water,” said Rundi in a WhatsApp reply.