Hazaribagh, which on Tuesday sported minimum and maximum readings of 8.2°C and 16.4°C, coupled with dense morning fog, has forced its administration to ask its younger school-going children to stay at home till Sunday.
Deputy commissioner (DC) Sunil Kumar on Tuesday ordered private and government schools to stop junior classes between preparatory to VIII grade from Wednesday for the rest of this week.
Hazaribagh temperatures started dipping from Sunday due to north winds. Most schools in the district reopened after winter vacation on Monday, on a day when unseasonal rain had pushed minimum and maximum readings to of 4.2°C and 12°C. Children also went to school on Tuesday as the DC issued the fiat at 11am.
On both days, attendance was thin. Most schools start at 8.30am, when fog is dense.
“Children are most prone to catching cold in this kind of weather. Plus, mornings are unusually foggy, which makes commuting to schools early in the morning very tough. I hope this directive keeps children safe at home,” DC Kumar said.
Older children, from Classes IX to XII, will attend schools as normal.
Even otherwise, the city and district are reeling from the cold. Unconfirmed reports suggest six deaths in the past 10 days due to cold, while sadar hospital and nursing homes in Hazaribagh are flooded with cold-related cases. Markets are also deserted.
Residents have alleged that bonfire arrangements in the city have been less than satisfactory this year. But, Hazaribagh Municipal Board officials have refuted the allegations.
“We did light up bonfires at various important chowks of the city after getting instructions from our chairperson Anjali Kumari,” stressed a municipality official.
In the hinterland, this winter has given rise to another story. It seems the weather and alleged “state apathy” have helped rebel associations warm up to people.
In Lohra Barwatola village, Keredari block, rebels of Tritiya Prastuti Committee distributed blankets among 100 elderly persons on January 4. Their so-called commander Ranvijay Singh, who led this campaign, promised more such giveaways and held the “apathy of the state government” responsible for the “cold deaths”.
How are you beating this biting cold?