Around 240 state-aided schools in Jalpaiguri district will be revamped under the Centre’s Samagra Shiksha Mission at an expenditure of around Rs 22 crore.
“Tenders have been invited for the renovation of school buildings, washrooms, and some ancillary facilities. A sum of Rs 22.29 crore will be spent on the work under the Samagra Shiksha Mission,” said Ashwini Roy, the additional district magistrate (education) of Jalpaiguri district.
Schools were closed for months during the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of school buildings became dilapidated because of the lack of maintenance, natural disasters like rain and storms, and elephant attacks.
“Some schools’ tinned roofs have been blown away by storms. At some other schools, washrooms are in decrepit conditions and students cannot use them. Some buildings have been damaged by elephant attacks. Although the schools reopened after the pandemic, no renovation work has been carried out so far,” said Biplab Jha, the Jalpaiguri district secretary of the All Bengal Primary Teachers’ Association.
Students and teachers have to face inconveniences because of such situations.
Sources in the administration said they had identified 232 primary schools and 12 higher secondary schools in the district where repair and renovation would be carried out. “The buildings will be repaired and steps will be taken to provide drinking water supply at some of these institutions,” said an official.
Some of the schools identified for the revamp are located in tea gardens and forest villages.
“Elephants often stray into these areas and damage schools in search of food as the food grains for mid-day meals are kept in the buildings. There are a number of schools which need immediate repairs,” said a teacher based in the Malbazar subdivision of the district.
Representatives of the primary teachers’ association backed by the Trinamul Congress, however, said some repairs had been carried out after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This time, the administration has taken a major initiative to carry out extensive repairs of all these schools to reduce the inconveniences of students and teachers,” said Swapan Basak, the association’s president in Jalpaiguri district.