Parents of students of Sree Narayana Guru High School in Govandi continued their hunger strike for a third day outside the school because the government is yet to pay their school fees.
The children of the protesting parents come under the categories of Scheduled Caste/ vimukh jati and nomadic tribes and the social welfare department is supposed to pay their fees.
As the department failed to pay, the school asked the parents of these students to pay the fees.
“The government should pay our fees, and it has not done this yet, so the school has asked us to pay,” said Sandesh Dethe, parent of a class VIII student.
“We will keep fighting until the government pays what it is supposed to,” Dethe added.
After the school and some parents filed a writ petition in the high court on August 5, the court, in an interim order, directed the government to pay the fees within two weeks.
However, it has not yet done so. Parents are also upset that the school has hiked the fee from Rs 450 to Rs 600 and is demanding the hiked amount.
“Because of the state government’s failure to pay we have lost about Rs 70 lakh and we are in a soup,” said Salil Kumar, secretary of Sree Narayana Mandira Samiti, the trust that runs the school.
“We have asked the parents to pay the fees for now, and have said we will reimburse them when the government pays.”
He added that about 40 per cent of the students in the school were eligible for government-paid education.
The minister and the principal secretary of the social welfare department were unavailable to comment despite attempts to contact them.
A senior official from the school education department said: “I have also been trying to speak to the department but at the moment I do not know exactly what the issue is. All I know is that they discontinued the payments a few years ago.”