Parents demonstrate on Sonari-Airport road and burn tyres during the blockade on Saturday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, March 8: The protest by BPL parents against Carmel Junior College’s move to deny promotion to students enrolled under RTE Act over failure to deposit fee ended after a huge drama today with protesters blocking Sonari-Airport road for nearly four hours and compelling the school principal to meet them in the presence of administrative officials.
The 200 agitators, including some 50 women, started picketing on two ends of the artery — near Ram Mandir and Kadma-Sonari link road — around 10am.
The agitation caused inconvenience for commuters between densely populated areas Kadma and Sonari.
Bus drivers and auto-rickshaw operators, who ply on the Sakchi-Sonari route asked passengers to get down near Circuit House roundabout.
“I had to walk for nearly 800 metres to cross the blockade and hire a rickshaw to reach my Kagalnagar residence. When I left home at 9am, everything was normal. Agitators should have released prior information about the stir,” said Subhendu Bhowmick, a septuagenarian staying at Swarna Vihar Apartment in Kagalnagar.
The parents, on their part, said they took the blockade path after one of them Shyam Dhibar had to be hospitalised during an infinite hunger strike outside the school premises on the fee issue.
“We had to resort to such an agitation to force administration to take our demands seriously,” said Vishnu Mahanand, who was spearheading the blockade.
Agitators refused to heed assurances of circle inspector of Kadma-Sonari police stations B.K. Chaturvedi and were adamant on meeting senior administrative officials.
Eventually, DSP headquarter II Jagdish Prasad and East Singhbhum district superintendent of education Indu Bhusan Singh arrived, arranged a meeting with the school management on the issue and successfully persuaded agitators to lift the blockade.
Later, during a half-an-hour meeting between parents, the two officials and school principal, it was agreed that the school will promote the students if 30 per cent of annual fee was paid.
“The agitators have withdrawn their six-day long strike after the school’s assurance,” confirmed DSP headquarter II Jagdish Prasad.
Parents of six underprivileged students of Carmel Junior College went on an indefinite strike from March 3 after school principal Sister M. Sylvie said that unless they paid 50 per cent of the total annual fee, their wards won’t be promoted.
The school reasoned that as a minority institution, it was exempted from admitting BPL students.
It added that over the past two years, the school had admitted poor students, but the state was yet to reimburse them on the expenses.