High drama prevailed for more than three hours at Government Primary School, Kundanpuri, when parents locked up schoolteachers and in charge of the school before the former started shifting infrastructure to a government school in 8B Chander Nagar on Tuesday.
Last month, Gurjot Singh, district education officer, elementary, had directed the Kundanpuri school to shift students and infrastructure with immediate effect after the public works department declared the building unsafe.
Parents have opposed the move and are not interested in sending their children to 8B Chander Nagar as it is 2km away from Kundanpuri.
Of 292 students studying in the school, 42 are enrolled in special training centres, while 13 are disabled.
Despite several phone calls made by the school incharge Jaswinder Kaur to the education department, no official from the department visited the spot to handle the agitated parents. Even district Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Praveen Bansal opposed the shifting of the school.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Bansal said: “Poor children are studying in the school and it will become difficult for parents to send their children to the other school, which is 2km away from here. They can’t afford transportation fees and children are also too small to go on their own in the afternoon shift to the school.”
He said: “The government school at 8B Chander Nagar has only four classrooms and it’s very difficult for students to go to school at 12.30pm. We have requested the education department to rollback the decision. As per the department, the school has four unsafe classrooms, but I didn’t find any of the four classrooms unsafe when I visited the school for inspection. Even if there are any rickety classrooms in the building, we will arrange a shed for the students.”
Tripat Kaur, a grandparent, said: “My two granddaughters are studying in this school and we are upset from the day when the school head had received orders from the DEO to shift the school. We can’t provide transportation facility to our children.”
Muhammad Rabib, another parent, said: “My three daughters are studying in the school in classes 2, 3 and 4 and I will not send them to a school which is 2km away from here. Who will be responsible if anything happens to my children? Safety of girls is a big issue nowadays so I can’t take a risk of sending them to a faraway school.”
Jaswinder Kaur, head of the school, said: “We are just following the orders of the DEO. The parents are not willing to send their children to 8B Chander Nagar School.”
When contacted DEO, elementary, Gurjot Singh, said: “Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema will decide whether the school will be shifted.” When asked whether he would visit the school to take stock of the situation, he said they would not do so.
Cheema said: “If parents are not interested in sending their children to a faraway school then we will not shift the students to Chander Nagar school. We are thinking of repairing the building of Kundanpuri school so that students can sit in a safer building.”
IS LAND MAFIABEHIND SHIFTING?
Parents and district BJP president Praveen Bansal on Tuesday alleged that land mafia was involved in shifting of the students of Government Primary School at Kundanpuri. The school had been running at a dharamsala for the past 40 years. Was the education department sleeping for the past several years. Why they are shifting it now?