Rotting onion stench forces students in Madhya Pradesh govt school to skip classes
Around 2,000 tonnes of onions were procured to help farmers battling falling prices but an absence of adequate storage space and heavy rainfall spoilt the produce.bhopal Updated: Jul 06, 2017 16:20 IST
Students at a government primary school in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhatarpur district have stopped coming to school over the past two days because of the unbearable stench of rotting onions near the building.
Around 2,000 tonnes of onions were procured by the government to help farmers battling falling prices but an absence of adequate storage space and heavy rainfall spoilt the produce, local residents at Kushipura village said.
“We stopped coming to school as we couldn’t withstand the smell. The teachers and principal are trying to get the onion removed,” Class 4 student Bharti told Hindustan Times.
Teachers in the school allege that the district administration authorities got the entire produce of onions dumped at the school ground.
“I asked the officials to at least cover the mound with gravel or sand but they did not listen to us. They told us that government had issued the order to dump it in open,” said school teacher Naval Kishore Pateriya.
The problem of rotting onions has swept Madhya Pradesh that is battling a farm crisis. More than 40 farmers have killed themselves since five died in police firing in Mandsaur a month ago while protesting for better crop prices and a loan waiver.
A supply glut – the yield of onions this year is 30% more than that of the previous year – has sent prices crashing. The government has decided to buy onions from farmers at higher-than-market prices but an absence of storage facilities has seen many tonnes of produce rotting in the rain.
In the nearby Harpalpur town, local residents complained that rotten onion had been dumped near a residential colony.
“The bad and pungent smell is causing irritation in our eyes. Most of the residents have locked themselves in their houses due to the smell,” said local resident Pushpendra Payak.
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) BB Gangele said there must have be a miscommunication as there was no order to dump the rotten onion near a residential area or a school. “We will take steps to cover rotten onion with sand.” he added.