| Residents protest in front of the school on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture
Siliguri, Sept. 6: Residents of Rathkhola here shut down Bapuji Primary School this morning, alleging gross irregularities by the authorities.
The residents, who were aided by guardians of the school’s students, claimed that the school hardly ever starts on time as most of the teachers arrive late.
“The teachers often arrive an hour later than the scheduled time. The school does not even open at the same time everyday and children often have to wait in the scorching sun,” said Moloy Roy, a resident of the area.
Government rules require that the school should be opened to students at 10.45 am, while classes are supposed to begin at 11. The people of the area alleged that the school hardly opened its gates before 11.30 am.
“Besides the fact that the teachers regularly fail to come to school on time, they are often absent as well,” said one of the agitated parents. “On most school days, classes are suspended before time and this leads to irregularity in the distribution of midday meals. Our children seldom get their due.”
The long list of grievances finally took its toll and residents of the area gathered in front of the school building this morning, demanding an end to the irregularities. They locked the gate barring the entry of teachers and students alike and classes were not held as a result.
According to sources, the school has 120 students in different primary classes and is run by three teachers, including the headmistress, Rekha Chakraborty.
The headmistress, however, refuted the allegations. “We occasionally do get late but follow the limits as prescribed in the government rules,” Chakraborty said. “It is wrong to allege that we are irregular in our job.”
Officials at the district primary school council, too, got wind of the incident.
“We have sent our staff to the school to inquire and submit their findings before us,” said Biswajit Bhowmik, the chairman of the council. “We will then take the required steps.”