Bandh beauty Traffic-stopper Priyanka Chopra landed in town on bandh eve for Gunday, a Yash Raj film in which she plays a Bengali girl. The Barfi! star begins shooting on Wednesday with co-star Arjun Kapoor. (Rashbehari Das)
Most Calcutta schools are closed on Wednesday and many are iffy about reopening on Thursday despite the Left leadership’s promise to exempt transport from the second day of the general strike called by the central trade unions.
“In case there is disruption and buses do not ply, how will students come to school? We have to anticipate the worst in such a situation. We cannot risk the safety of our students,” said principal Terence Ireland of St. James’ School, which will be shut for two days.
The two La Martiniere schools have asked parents to decide whether they should send their children, knowing from past experience that hardly anybody would.
“Parents might have certain apprehensions about sending their children to school on a strike day and we cannot force them to do so,” Supriyo Dhar, secretary of the La Martiniere Schools, said.
Apeejay will hold only “remedial classes” for some students of classes IX and X on Thursday and Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, where exams are underway, hasn’t scheduled any paper on either of the strike days.
DPS New Town has left it to the parents of students from Class III upwards to send their wards to school on Wednesday. Only the junior classes will be shut. “Our buses will ply as usual; so we have decided to keep the school open Class III upwards,” a DPS official said.
In Bengal, the primary indicator of a strike’s so-called success is the availability of transport. Lesser the number of vehicles on the street, more “successful” a bandh is considered to be.
So desperate is the Mamata Banerjee government to foil the trade union strike that transport minister Madan Mitra has been asked to make public transport available against all odds. Minister Mitra held one meeting after another in the state secretariat throughout Tuesday to try and keep the wheels rolling.
Mahadevi Birla World Academy, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Calcutta Girls’ High School, South Point, The Heritage School, Sri Sri Academy, Birla High School for Boys and Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan are shut on the first day of the strike but will reopen on Thursday. Just in case there is a forced change in plan, some of these schools haven’t scheduled any exam.
As of now, St. Xavier’s Collegiate School and Modern High School for Girls are going ahead with their internal exams on Thursday, which the Left has converted into a partial strike day because of Bhasha Divas.
“On Wednesday, the Group D staff will not work. But we have received a letter from the union saying they will be working on Thursday. Hence the decision to hold exams as scheduled,” Devi Kar, the director of Modern High, said.