Schools and colleges in Lucknow wore a deserted look on Teachers Day on Saturday, following the district administration's order to suspend group gatherings in educational institutions to prevent the spread of swine flu.
A large number of schools preferred to remain closed while those open did not witness the varied cultural events and entertainment programmes organised by students for their teachers on the occasion every other year.
"It was a dull affair for our college. For the last several days, our students were carrying out rehearsals to present cultural programmes for us. We feel extremely sorry, as we did not permit them to stage the programmes in the wake of the order issued by the district administration," vice-principal of St Joseph Convent AK Rastogi told IANS.
Echoing similar views, Lucknow Public School (LPS) teacher VK Singh said: "With a heavy heart we had to say no to students. They were to present a number of dance and music programmes to entertain us."
Like teachers, students too seemed sad for not being able to participate in the cultural events. "This occasion comes once in a year... It's very special to us as we get a chance to show our affection towards them. Moreover, the cultural events organised on the occasion provide the much-needed mental relief for students and teachers from the monotonous routine," said Upasana Singh, a student of St. Anthony's College.
The Lucknow district administration Sep 2 had issued the order to suspend morning assemblies, sports activities and other mass gatherings in all schools to prevent the spread of swine flu.
While issuing the order, the district authorities had warned that schools flouting the directions would invite strict action.
"We will be very strict and ensure that school authorities comply with the order which would categorically mention that FIRs would be registered against those schools that fail to follow the directive," additional district magistrate (ADM) JP Singh had told IANS.
According to officials, till now 168 cases of swine flu have been reported from Uttar Pradesh.
"Till now nearly 100 swine flu cases have been reported from Lucknow alone," chief medical officer AK Shukla told IANS.