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School left out in cold

Midnapore, Dec. 24: The makeshift tarpaulin shed offers no protection from the chilly winds and their parents cannot afford warm clothes.

Many students of a government-run primary school in West Midnapore have become irregular as classes are being held under a tarpaulin shed in the cold after floods damaged the building in October.

The little ones said they could not bear the chilly winds throughout the day. Some of them said they caught cold after attending classes.

The temperature had dropped to 16 degrees Celsius last week. This week, it has been hovering around 18 degrees Celsius.

A section of teachers said the building of Bagageria Sishu Siksha Kendra in Keshpur could not be repaired because of lack of initiative by the local panchayat to arrange for funds.

Bidhan Kar, a Class IV student, said: “Classes are held from 10am to 4pm. The cold wind gets unbearable at times. I had fever last week. After that, I don’t attend classes on days it is too chilly.”

Kalpana Maity, the headmistress, said: “The building could collapse any moment. So we took no chances and started taking classes under the tarpaulin shed outside the school building.”

The school has 138 students, of which around 80 to 90 have been remaining absent daily after classes under the shed started.

Pratima Maity, a teacher, said: “The few who attend classes come because of the midday meal. But they become restless after the meal. Many did not turn up for an evaluation test held recently.”

The pradhan of the Enayatpur gram panchayat, Kalyani Singh, said engineers had visited the one-storey school building and estimated the cost of repairs at Rs 3.5 lakh. “I will submit the estimate to the BDO as soon as I get it,” she said.

BDO Mohammed Zamil Aqtar said funds “would not be a problem”.