More than 1,000 students in Ambernath reached their school on Tuesday morning only to find that it had been locked up.
A local court had sealed the premises of Malutai Gokhale-Rahalkar Vidyalaya claiming the management had not paid off a loan of Rs. 7 lakh to Oriental Co-operative Bank, Ulhasnagar.
In 2000, the old school structure had been demolished and a new one was built. The trust had put in Rs11 lakh of its own and taken a loan of Rs7 lakh from the bank, according to Shagun Bhadkamkar, president, of the trust.
"We were expecting a state government non-salary grant of Rs25 lakh to come through. But the government has not given us a single penny. We were therefore unable to pay the loan instalment in time," said Bhadkamkar. "When we reached the school, we found that the land had been sold to a private party."
School authorities said they enrol the students free of cost as most of them are from the phase-pardhi community.
Surinder Singh, deputy manger, recovery branch, Oriental Co-Operative Bank, said, "Twelve years is a long enough period to repay a loan. We sent them many notices and reminders, but received no responseso we approached the Maharashtra Debt Recovery Tribunal and the matter is now in court." He added, "If the court gives the school relief, we do not have any objection, our concern is only the loan."
The trust had now filed an appealed with the tribunal and is also planning to file a public interest writ petition in the Bombay high court.