The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Headmaster locked up

Krishnagar, Aug. 4: The Nadia primary school council today served showcause notices on a headmaster and five teachers after villagers charged them with irregular attendance and serving substandard midday meals to the students.

About 200 villagers in Nakashipara, 140 km from Calcutta, locked up headmaster Dhananjoy Ghosh and the five teachers in a room when they arrived at Netaji Vidyapith Primary School around 1 pm today.

The teachers were released after 5 pm only after they submitted a written statement explaining why they came late.

Classes are scheduled to start around 10 am but the teachers come to school after noon almost every day, the villagers alleged.

Ghosh said the allegations against him were baseless. “I was busy with a meeting of the Sarba Siksha Abhijan. What can I do if teachers come late'” he asked.

The villagers also alleged that the midday meals served to the students were of poor quality though the allotment per student had been doubled.

“The 170 students of the school returned home after waiting for a long time this morning. But teachers just do not bother. The guardians lodged a protest with me saying they would not tolerate it any more,” said Dolly Malakar, CPM panchayat member and president of the village education committee, who led the agitation.

The villagers also threw away the rice and vegetables stored for midday meals.

“Many students have been falling sick after taking midday meals. There have been several complaints against the school authorities. We repeatedly cautioned them but they did not listen,” Malakar said.

On hearing about the agitation, the sub-inspector of schools (primary) and an official from the block development office arrived to pacify the villagers.

The chairman of the district primary school council, Bibhash Biswas, said he had asked the Nakashipara block development officer, Mrinmoy Biswas, to conduct an inquiry into complaints about the midday meals. “The poor attendance of the teachers and the headmaster will be probed by me. I have served them with showcause notices.”

A sub-inspector of schools will look after the school administration till the headmaster comes clean, he added.

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