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Drain stench suffocates students

Foul stench emanating from solid waste and garbage has made studies miserable for children at Vidyapati Girls’ High School for close to a fortnight.

The school administration alleged that workers with Darbhanga Municipal Corporation cleaned an open drain on February 5 and dumped the garbage on the campus instead of carting it away. The civic body’s promise to take action has not yet seen the light of day.

Attending classes at the school in the Laheria Sarai area of town, around 175km northeast of Patna, has been difficult on the teachers and 950 students enrolled at the institution.

Principal Sunil Kumar told The Telegraph: “We had opposed to the workers dumping solid waste on the campus. We told them it would severely pollute the school’s atmosphere, but the workers did not listen to us.”

On Friday, The Telegraph again contacted Darbhanga mayor Gauri Paswan, who said: “We were busy in a meeting of the civic body for the past few days. The matter would be looked into immediately.”

Earlier, when the mayor was contacted, he had expressed ignorance about civic body workers dumping solid waste on the school campus.

Principal Kumar said one-third of the school premises has been encroached as well. According to the school’s deed, one Mohammad Noor Imam had given an 18-cottah land in favour of the governor of Bihar in 1989.

Of that, around 5.5 cottah on the southern end of the school has been encroached for the past several years.

Vidyapati Girls’ High School was established in 1939. It functioned out of rented campuses till 1989 after which squatters took over a portion of the premises in 1993. The residents have constructed permanent houses on the campus, even taking away bicycle parking space.

Sunil said: “I approached the district administration to evict the squatters living on the school premises. We do not have any area to allow the students to park their bicycles. As the school campus is small and we do not have a ground, we cannot hold sports competitions. The encroachers have built a permanent structure, so it is difficult to drive them out without the co-operation of the district administration.”

The students are disappointed.

“We are unable to play games and it takes hours to leave the campus at the end of the day. Due to the limited space, there is congestion with all the students trying to retrieve their bicycles in the melee. Although the school has land of its own, it has not been able to construct a cycle stand,” said Richa Kumari, a student of Class IX.

Priti Kumari, a Class X student, said: “The stench has been unbearable and no action is being taken for almost a fortnight. The encroachers have no hygienic practices. They even dump their sanitary material in the open drain. Now, the foul stench from the garbage has added to our problems.”


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