| TOTAL IMPACT: The school board reinstalled at 96/3 Collin Street. Picture by Aranya Sen
If the comrades in Kerala can ensure near- cent-per-cent literacy rate, reclaiming a school from a sweatshop owner is no big deal for their counterparts in Left-ruled Bengal.
A day after Metro reported how a primary school at 96/3 Collin Street was first turned into a marriage hall and then rented out to two families, the political masters swung into action.
By Thursday afternoon, the school board — reading Calcutta Municipal Corporation Primary (Day) School, Urdu Medium — was firmly in place and the sweatshop was shut.
“A man (Motiur Rahman) was illegally occupying the building… The leather factory has been closed and he has been asked to vacate,” said Mohammad Kalam, a local CPM leader, wondering why the school authorities had remained silent.
Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, who pleaded ignorance about a CMC-run school being used for commercial purposes, has now ordered a probe.
“I have asked my officials to inquire into the matter and submit a report. Action will be taken accordingly,” he said.
Around a decade ago, the civic body-funded school — barely 100 metres from the CPM headquarters on Alimuddin Street — had over 1,000 students, but high drop-out rate led to a dwindling of the numbers.
Local residents complain that none of the political parties ever tried to get the students back to the classrooms.
“Dropouts in schools is a major concern… We have launched a campaign to raise awareness, but we have to do it on a larger scale,” said mayor Bhattacharyya.