Schools in the state capital will have to declare summer vacations ahead of their respective schedules because of the May 17 civic body election because there won’t be adequate buses to take students to the institutions.
During a meeting with representatives of various schools on Tuesday, the district administration asked them to hand over their buses for election duty from May 14 to May 17.
The schools have been asked to make alternative arrangements so that they do not face problems.
Harihar Prasad, the nodal officer of the district transport office, Patna, told The Telegraph: “The school representatives have been asked to hand over some of their buses to the district administration as per convenience. The buses will be used for the election duty from May 14 to May 17. We have, however, have not asked to hand over all the buses. We do not want to create problems for them. In fact, few buses can make additional trips.”
The district transport office’s decision has, however, not gone down well with many schools.
A school principal told The Telegraph: “It is unfortunate that schoolbuses are being taken for election duty. The administration should do away with such practices because it is neither good for the schools nor does it help the students anyway. Given the situation, we will have to announce the summer vacation ahead of the schedule. Else, the children will have to face a lot of difficulties.”
He added: “Even if the buses make additional trips, the students will have to wait for long. How are the schools expected to manage things in such a situation?”
Representatives of schools such as St Joseph’s Convent High School, Don Bosco Academy, DPS Patna and Patna High School attended the meeting. St Joseph’s Convent High School announced summer vacation from May 11, though its original schedule was May 19. St Michael’s High School is closing for the vacation on May 13.
Another school principal said, “Whenever there is an elections, schools are the worst sufferers. Despite clear guidelines from the high court, the administration puts undue pressure on the school management for buses. The schools are always ready to support the local administration and the state government. But there should be some ways to ensure that the schools do not suffer.” The principal added that the buses should be spared at least when the schools start and the classes get over for the day.
The administration’s decision might also affect several summer camps that have been planned. A school principal said, “We were to start a summer camp, but we do not think it would be possible because of the shortage of buses. Summer camps are meant for the children to enjoy. But the shortage of buses might create a lot of problems.”
On the other hand, the state election commission today announced that the polling for Patna division would be held in two phases. Polling for 71 wards of Patna Municipal Corporation would be held as scheduled on May 17. Polling for the six municipal councils — Barh, Khagaul, Danapur, Mokama, Masaurhi and Phulwarisharif — and three nagar panchayats —Fathuha, Maner and Bakhtiarpur — would be held on May 22. Polling for ward number 39 would also be held on May 22.
Joint election commissioner Ahibhushan Pandey said all arms shops would be closed two days before and after the dates of elections. He added that regular searches would be conducted across all prisons in the state from May 10.