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Gherao on school fee hike

Siliguri, Jan. 14: A member of the managing committee of Siliguri Hindi High School (Boys) was confined to the library for more than two hours today by around 50 guardians who had come to attend a meeting to discuss their demand to rescind the decision to increase the annual fees.

The gherao was withdrawn after Bimal Dalmia, the managing committee member, agreed not to collect the fees till the district administration took a decision on the hike.

The meeting between the guardians and the management started in the school library at 11am. The parents allege that the management increases the fees every year by falsely claiming that it is a minority institution and enjoys the privilege of determining the amounts.

Apart from Bimal Dalmia, secretary of the managing committee, Bhagwati Prasad Dalmia was also at the meeting.

“We asked the management to show us documents to prove that the school has minority status. But they couldn’t. So, we asked them to give us a written undertaking that the fee had been reduced to Rs 240 (the amount fixed for any government-aided school). They rejected our plea and the guardians confined the two management representatives to the library since 1pm,” said Sandipan Bhattacharjee, the president of Guardians’ Forum of North Bengal.

However, 74-year-old Bhagwati Prasad Dalmia was soon allowed to leave as he complained that he was feeling unwell.

Around 3.30pm, the guardians withdrew the gherao.

“Bimal Dalmia has given us in writing that no fees will be collected till a decision is taken by the district authorities. He also agreed that the management would accept the fee decided by the district administration,” said Bhattacharjee.

Bimal Dalmia confirmed that the management would go by the administration’s decision on the fee.