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Learning block or a lesson for life?

- School kids hit streets over class stalemate

Protest, perhaps, is the single solution to all vexing problems in Jharkhand. And students of Kendriya Vidyalaya II, Dhanbad, are learning it young.

Fifty-odd children of the school — studying in standards I to VIII — enforced a roadblock in front of their Jagjivan Nagar campus in Saraidhela, 5km from Dhanbad town, on Monday morning, seeking resumption of classes that have remained suspended for exactly 44 days because their school building is crumbling.

The half-an-hour students’ demonstration — supported by parents and guardians, as well as a political party and a trade union — threw traffic on NH-32 out of gear for almost an hour from 9.30am.

Since May 2003, the Kendriya Vidyalaya has been running from a 10-room building provided by the Directorate-General of Mines Safety (DGMS). Recently, the central public works department conducted an inspection and declared the single-storied structure “unsafe”, following which all classes were suspended from September 29. The move left as many as 377 students in the lurch.

However, on October 18, regular studies resumed for 84 students of Classes IX and X in two rooms that were “comparatively in a better condition”. But, for the nearly 300 others, there has been little hope till date.

“We had to take the extreme step because the future of our children is at stake. Classes have remained suspended for a month and a half, and all we have been getting are periodic assurances from the school administration,” said Sashibala Dubey, a guardian.

School principal Surendra conceded that the ire of students was not unwarranted. “Children of Classes I to VIII have been suffering because our building has been declared unsafe. But, we are helpless,” he said.

As students stayed put on the streets, deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar reached Jagjivan Nagar and also summoned BCCL general manager (civil) A.K. Mitra. The latter assured parents that classes would resume at a company building lying unused only 50 metres away. “The paperwork will take a day or two after which the building, once used as a malaria control room, will be turned into a school,” Mitra said.

Deputy commissioner Kumar claimed he had initiated efforts to shift the school more than a month ago. “I had written a letter to the BCCL CMD to provide the building. He agreed after an inspection, but there were some procedural delays, which will be resolved very soon. We expect classes to resume after Chhath,” he said.

Should schoolchildren be involved in demonstrations? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com