The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Roof crashes down on kids

Malda, Aug. 21: The roof and the railing of a nine-month old school building came crashing down today, injuring more than 10 students of Jalapur High School, 24km from here.

All the injured students have been admitted to Malda district hospital. The condition of five of them is serious.

The children were on their way to the first floor corridor around 10.30am, when the roof above fell on them. Large chunks of concrete also fell on the railing of the corridor, which collapsed.

Rubel Sheikh and Sayem Sheikh of Class VII suffered injuries on the head while Maqful Sheikh of Class VI broke his leg. Biki Chowdhury and Mujibur Sheikh of Class VI have also received head injuries.

The sound of falling bricks and concrete and the shouts for help brought around 300 villagers to the school. They later beat up the teachers. The angry crowd also confined headmaster Harun Rashid and an assistant teacher Abdul Mahid inside the school for two hours.

They were rescued after the arrival of a huge police force headed by the inspector-in-charge of Kaliachak police station Sagar Saha around 1pm. The villagers alleged that the construction material used had been of poor quality.

“The building was constructed nine months ago under the MP’s local area development fund. But the headmaster and the other teacher had employed contractors who were close to them. We suspect the teachers made a lot of money from the Rs 7 lakh deal,” said a villager.

“We demand an administrative inquiry and punishment of the guilty,” he added.

The headmaster, however, has denied the charges. “This was an accident. All official procedures for the construction of the building were followed.”

Saha said he had not yet received any written complaint against the headmaster or any other teacher. “If we get complaints of financial irregularities in writing, we shall start an inquiry,” he added.

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