|The Kulbera Bhimdeb Adarsha Vidyapith in Tamluk, 16km from Kolaghat where Mamata (below) held a meeting with district officials on Monday. Pictures by Jahangir Badsa and Pradip Sanyal
Tamluk, Oct. 8: Men in uniform replaced children in uniform at the Kulbera Bhimdeb Adarsha Vidyapith in Tamluk today.
A contingent of 225 police personnel requisitioned for the chief minister’s two-day visit to East Midnapore occupied 12 classrooms. For the students, this meant no classes — right from Class V to XII.
Headmaster Siddhartha Maity said the school had been told that 125 policemen would have to be accommodated, but 100 additional personnel were brought from North and South 24-Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly yesterday.
Mamata Banerjee arrived in East Midnapore this evening and held a meeting with administrative officials. Tomorrow, she will inaugurate two factories in Haldia and give land rights papers to farmers.
The students of Classes V and VI had already been instructed on Saturday not to come on Monday and Tuesday. Those in Classes VII to X had come to school today but were told to go home after the roll call. Students of Classes XI and XII were sent home without attendance.
Maity said the district police had on Friday asked for five rooms of the school through the officer-in-charge of Tamluk police station to accommodate 125 policemen.
“The school committee agreed and five rooms were allotted. Accordingly, the students of Classes V and VI were asked not to come today and tomorrow. But 225 policemen landed up yesterday and we had to allot seven more rooms,” he said.
The headmaster added that the school could not inform the other students of the development as yesterday was a Sunday.
A senior official of the district inspector of schools said the institute had not followed rules before telling the students to return home.
Asked to specify, he said: “If the government needs to use a state-run or state-aided high school for accommodation purposes, it will have to take permission from the district inspector of schools (secondary). If the school needs to be kept closed for more than a day, the inspector will have to forward a request to the education department, which will decide on the matter. But in this case, no such permission was taken.”
The secretary of the Trinamul-run school managing committee, Madan Mohun Khutial, found “nothing wrong” with the students being told to return home.
“After all, the chief minister has come to our district. Besides, one of our meritorious students will get a cheque from Mamata Banerjee. It is an honour for the school and the students can sacrifice a day for it,” Khutial said.
The headmaster said he was not sure classes would be held tomorrow.
“I have informed the OC of Tamluk police station about our problem. He told me the rooms would be vacated by 10am tomorrow,” he said. Classes begin at 11am.
District superintendent of police Sukesh Jain refused to comment on the students losing a day. But another senior officer said on condition of anonymity that classes would not have been disrupted had the police team been divided into groups and accommodated in different schools.
“It would have been wise had we split the policemen into small groups and accommodated them in different schools. Then the school could have functioned normally. We will try to vacate some of the rooms tomorrow morning after the policemen leave for the chief minister’s duty,” the officer said.