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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Vacate schools, cry students

- Centre asked to help protect tribal belts in Assam, as schoolkids demand relief from camps

Dhubri, Sept. 21: Nearly 500 school students who are studying in makeshift classrooms in Dubri district staged a blockade on National Highway 31 at Balajan for nearly two hours today to protest against unhygienic conditions.

The students are from Balajan lower primary, middle English and high schools, where relief camps had been set up in July to house the riot-displaced people.

They demanded their school premises to be vacated immediately by shifting the inmates and alleged the classes were not being held properly and their academic session was being hampered.

“We are unable concentrate on our lessons as the temporary classrooms are not cleaned properly. The environment is such that none can motivate themselves to study well. We want our schools to be vacated immediately,” a student said.

Police and officials from the Dhubri district elementary education department rushed to the spot and pacified the students with an assurance of fulfilling their demands.

Dhubri deputy inspector of school, Anowar Hussain said the matter had been sorted out and the students staging the blockade had gone back.

“We assured the students that we would look into their demands and make arrangements accordingly after consultation with other officials,” Hussain said.

An official source in the elementary education department said camps have been set up in 173 schools, out of which five schools are housing security forces while the rest are being occupied by the riot-hit.

He also said altogether 35,432 students have been affected because of their schools housing inmates.

Altogether 24,578 riot-hit people are taking shelter in the 168 camps, according to the source.

Alternative arrangements for holding the classes have been made for all the 168 schools and funds for constructing makeshift rooms for holding classes ranging from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh, have been sanctioned to each school,” the source said.

“Most of the schools have made alternative arrangements and started classes but attendance is around 50 per cent, which is a matter of concern,” he added.

He also said the state government has released Rs 1,34,72,400 for making procuring corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) sheets to set up temporary classrooms.

The classes in the five schools, which are being occupied by security forces, are being held in makeshift rooms constructed by the forces, the source said.