The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Headmaster turns trader of blackboards

Barrackpore, Nov. 27: The headmaster of a government-aided primary school in North 24-Parganas has been accused of selling off the institution’s furniture, blackboards and other teaching materials.

Chandrashekhar Primary School at Kankinara, about 50 km from Calcutta, is now left with only three benches in two classrooms and four students. The strength of the school was about 60 three years ago.

The four students had complained to their parents that benches and other school furniture were gradually disappearing. The guardians, who went on an inquiry mission to the school, hauled up Durgadas Roychowdhury, the teacher-cum-headmaster. He is now the only teacher of the school. The other post lies vacant.

Roychowdhury failed to explain to the parents why the benches, blackboards and chairs were missing. The angry parents locked him in a classroom for two hours and released him after he promised to “bring back” the benches.

“We challenged his authority to sell the school’s assets and asked him to show the permission of the school inspector of Bhatpara circle. He failed to produce any document,” said Sulakhshana Ghosh, the secretary of the ward education committee and the local municipal councillor.

Ghosh came to know about the charge against the headmaster from the parents. Roychowdhury allegedly sold off furniture and teaching aids like blackboards and globes over a period of three years. A teacher-in-charge earlier, he was promoted to his post in the same period.

Kalyan Biswas, a former student who lives very close to the school, said he had pulled out his son from the institution realising that the rut had set in. “The school authorities used to run a business, selling government books that were supposed to be distributed free. As the same books are taught in many private nursery schools, they used to find many takers. The textbooks sold for Rs 25 apiece. They requisitioned many more books than the number of students,” said Biswas.

Roychowdhury did not attend school today. All attempts to get in touch with him were futile.

The district primary education authorities refused to comment on the allegations. Biswanath Chowdhury, the chairman of the Prathamik Siksha Sansad, declined comment. Equally tight-lipped was the school inspector.

Primary education department secretary T.K. Basu said he did not receive any report. “I know nothing about it,” he said.

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