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Class Under The Sky For 10 Years

2015-11-26 07:08

The students taking lessons under the open sky in Murutia. Picture by SOURAV BHATTACHARJEE

NfN NETWORK

Murutia (Nadia), nOV. 26: 181 students of a state government run primary school at Murutia village located close to Indo-Bangladesh border in Nadia district have been attending classes under the sky for the past 10 years ever since their two-room school building became unsafe.  Over this long period, the district administration has preferred to seat idle due to pending court cases filed by some adjacent locals for their right over the land enclosing the school building set up by Christian missionaries in 1940.

As a result problem cropped for running the school outside too under a tree. The litigants often make tantrum for use of land by the students leading to suspension of classes at regular intervals as it also occurs due to rain and scorching heat of sun.

The first sign of clouds means classes are abandoned. The cooks so have to visit students’ home to feed mid day meal prepared for them. On other days, the school cannot serve it under the tree due to objection by the neighboring litigants. The students are served food at the end of the classes which they are compelled to take home

The area located within 5 km of international border border has no other primary school within a radius area of about 2 km. The villagers mostly belong to BPL category.

The most amazing fact is that the school has no approach road. The students and seven teachers have been attending school walking over the private land. The school in recent past has got grants for development on a number of occasions. However, the grants were returned as the school could not bring materials for renovation in absence of the approach road.

Finding no way the school authorities and the guardians of the students have appealed the Barrackpore diocese Trust Association, who actually owns the school building, to shift them elsewhere so that the school could run without any interruptions

Teacher in charge of the school Monomita Paul said: “The school has become like an island enclosed by envying neighbors who do not want the school to run here. I have written many letters to the higher authorities, but nothing has been done so far. We simply want to get rid of these neighbors and want to settle in a place where the school could run without any interruption”.

Vice president of Barrackpore diocese Father reverent Surojit Sarkar said: “We have heard about the problem of the school and requested our local representative to find out a suitable solution”.

Local representative of Barrackpore Diocese Trust Association Father Reverend Ashoke Kumar Mondal, who is also Principal of Karimpur St Stephen School, said: “We are trying to shift the school in a better place soon”.

According to local sources, the problem cropped up during 2005, when the condition of the school building deteriorated. The school started functioning outside, but the neighbors raised objection.

“The administration granted fund for repair works, but prevented us to carry out the work by some locals refused to allow bringing materials over their land in absence of any approaching road”, said Monomita.

“Since 2005 the two rooms of the school building are kept under lock. We only open one room daily for keeping registrars and other official documents”, she adds further.

“I have written several letters to the higher authorities, but nothing has happened so far. I appealed the villagers to donate land for the school so that new school could construct as the higher authorities advised. But, no villager offered any land. We could not purchase land for school, as there is no such provision. So finding no way we have now appealed the Barrackpore diocese Trust Association to rescue us, because even though government provides grant for the school, but the trust owns the building. So it is only their benevolent gesture could save us”, Monomita said.

“Shifting of school is also required as the existing two rooms are not enough to accommodate four classes. The existing building is located on 2-satak land, which is too small for required infrastructure of a primary school for which the government now advocates. The infrastructure should include separate toilets for boys and girls, kitchen, office room and a play ground”.

Nargis Biwi mother of a class one student said: “The school has become irregular due as students have to depend on the mercy of nature and the neighbors. Appeals for construction of a new school at a different place have fallen in deaf ear”.

Ujjwal De, a local said: “The situation has come to such a passé that the teachers are not even allowed to provide a tarpaulin to protect the students from sun burn and rain. The litigants raise objection”.

Notwithstanding, the teachers try their best to arrange classes, but four classes in common ground often create chaotic atmosphere.

“This could not be an ideal atmosphere for running a school. The students could not concentrate on studies due to noisy surroundings. But we are helpless”, said head teacher Monomita.

Sukriti Das, a student of class four said: “We cannot hear what the teachers say due to noise”.

Sub inspector of schools (Karimpur West circle) Kajal Kumar Bhowmik said: “The school has been suffering due to dispute over surrounding land. It has no approach road. The school was issued grant, but the work could not be executed as materials could not be taken to the site. It was returned eventually. We are now trying for an alternative”.

Abhijit Biswas, a villager said: “The government should have come forward to acquire a land for the school”.

Local representative of Barrackpore Diocese Trust Association Father Reverend Ashoke Kumar Mondal said: “We have identified a land for the school. We are hopeful to shift the school to the new spot by the end of this year. The land is big enough where the administration could construct a new building as per its requirement”.

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