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Sir’s time to pay back: Rs 10 lakh

Cooch Behar, April 26: A former headmaster of a Tufanganj school has donated Rs 10 lakh to the school authorities after selling his house to help poor and meritorious students.

Colleagues said Ajoy Satpathy had always talked about how his teachers had helped him through difficult times when he was in school and how he wanted to do a good turn when his time came.

Satpathy handed over a cheque for Rs 10 lakh to the management of Nripendra Narayan Memorial High School at a programme here today. The authorities said the money would be deposited in a bank and the interest of Rs 10,000 a month would be used to back “meritorious and not well-off students” not only from this school but from outside as well.

During the programme, the 68-year-old retired teacher said: “I have sold my six-roomed house and decided to donate Rs 10 lakh to the school to help meritorious students from poor families. I am now living in a two-room house taken on rent.”

Satpathy has been living alone since his wife died seven years ago. His son has settled in France and daughter is living in Alipurduar.

“I don’t have any use living alone in a six-roomed house. It is too big for me. That is why I sold the house that stood on three cottahs of land and got Rs 10 lakh. I donated the entire amount to the school. I have told the school to keep the money in the bank and use the interest to help poor children,” said Satpathy.

For Subhajit Saha, the donation could not have come at a more right moment. Subhajit will sit for his higher secondary examinations next year and is class topper. “I am studying science and I am hoping of scoring well in JEE. My mother is the only breadwinner in my family and she works as a small savings agent. I am glad that I will be able to ask for help from this fund once I do well in the entrance exams,” Subhajit said.

Satpathy had selected today as the day of donation because it was the school’s 97th foundation day. The donation has been named Shyamali Satpathy Smriti Fund, after his wife. Assistant headmaster Gopal Bidyananda said the school would get Rs 10,000 every month as interest from the funds and it would add up to Rs 1.2 lakh annually.

“We are going to use the funds as Ajoybabu wishes. The money will be used for students of not only our school but other institutions also. We will also try and help those students who get good ranks in JEE and help them pursue higher studies,” Bidyananda said.

Satpathy’s colleagues recalled that he had joined the school in 1994 as the headmaster after being transferred from Alipurduar High School.

The present headmaster of the school, Ramkrishna Pramanik, said Satpathy had always been in favour of helping students from poor families.

“He himself grew up in very difficult times and the only earning member in his family was his elder brother who stayed in Dhubri. Ajoybabu told us how all of them struggled to eke out a living and study. He recounted how he was helped by teachers of the Bholanath College in Dhubri.

He said he wanted to help needy students like his teachers did. He had done his MA in English, Bengali and Sanskrit and taught all three subjects in school,” said Pramanik.