The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 13 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bridge by students as govt tarries
- Schoolkids work on sudani in winter chill

Raiganj, Jan. 12: Around 400 students and 25 teachers of a school in Goalpokhor have come together to construct a bamboo bridge across the Sudani after the one they propped up two years ago was damaged in monsoon and the government failed to build a concrete structure that it had promised.

The North Dinajpur zilla parishad had promised Lalganj Lagua High School a concrete bridge a year ago.

The school, located 60km from here in Goalpokhar II block, was shut today. But the students lined up in their uniforms along the Sudani this morning. Standing in the chilly and knee-deep water, they impaled the 8-9-foot-long bamboo poles on the riverbed. They took about four hours to complete the six-foot wide and 100-metre long bridge.

Since the school was established in 1981, the local people, teachers and the students had been clamouring for a bridge. “At present, we have 2,099 students and about half of them come from across the river from Suryapur, Tagra, Majlispur, Lagua, Rasoa and Harigram villages, wading through the water,” said Md Zakir Hussain, the headmaster.

During the rains, the students face tremendous difficulties in fording the river. “At least 214 students, mostly girls, living across the river stopped coming to school in 2008. Some senior students had then suggested to me that we construct a bamboo bridge. We had constructed a bridge on November 18 that year,” he recalled.

In January 2009, the school authorities met the zilla parishad sabhadhipati who had promised a concrete bridge. However, nothing had been done so far. “If the students come by road, it means a detour of about 14km,” Hussain said.

After the old bridge collapsed, the school authorities had arranged for a ferry. “When the school reopened after Kali Puja, the students used to wade across. But the winter being severe this time, the students from across the river stopped coming to school. So the teachers contributed and the students also collected some money to build another bridge today,” the headmaster said.

The Congress leader in the North Dinajpur zilla parishad, Purnendu Kundu said a survey was being conducted and a tender would be floated soon

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