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Teacher donates plot for playground

Sabang (West Midnapore), Jan. 5: A retired schoolteacher has donated three cottahs to a primary school in his village in West Midnapore for students to play.

Nirmal Kumar Jana, 71, whose sons have modest incomes, said he felt bad that the 100-year-old Kharika Primary School in Sabang’s Kharika village did not have a playground.

Jana, who retired from Sarta Taraknath Institution in the same village over a decade ago, said: “A playground is needed for the betterment of children’s physical and mental health. But Kharika Primary School did not have a playground. That is why I donated my land, which is adjacent to the school.”

Sources said the land was priced at Rs 2.5 lakh. Seasonal vegetables were sometimes cultivated on the land, but it remained idle for most part of the year.

Khokon Jana, a resident of the village who teaches in a nursery school, said: “Land in Sabang is costly and no one parts with it. We are proud of Jana.”

The headmaster of Kharika Primary School, Chittaranjan Nayek, said it was the oldest educational institution in the village. “We have 161 students and six teachers. Nearly 80 per cent of the children belong to poor families. We badly needed a playground for the children,” he said.

Priyanshu Manna, a Class IV student, said he was happy that he would be able to play on a ground during recess.

“We often rued the lack of a playground. We used to play noughts and crosses in classrooms during recess and off periods,” Manna, 10, said.

Maidul Shah, a 25-year-old labourer whose son studies in the school, said the village, too, did not have a playground till Jana donated the plot.

“All children and adults of our village will be able to play on the ground after the school gives over and during vacations. I love playing football,” he said.

Jana’s son Asit, who runs a small medicine shop in the local Jhikuria market, said he was proud of his father for donating the land even though the family had financial constraints.

“My shop is small. My younger brother Arup is a part-time teacher. We don’t earn much. Still our father gave away the land for children. We are proud of him,” Asit said.