A dilapidated asbestos house at the railway station vibrates every time a train passes in its backyard. It is followed by loud cry of children bundled into the few rooms with a board hanging outside, Gopabandhu Nodal Upper Primary School.
The school under Bhadrak Municipality has 227 students on its rolls studying from Class I to VII but no building of its own. It is currently being run from a place earlier used as a railway police barracks.
While the rooms are not spacious enough to accommodate all children, a few are stacked with office material and foodgrains for the mid-day meal scheme.
If this was not enough, the damaged asbestos roof gives students a hard time during the rainy season. There are cracks on the walls as well as the floor which have not been repaired for long. Moreover, there is neither a toilet nor drinking water facility for the students. Water for cooking noon meal is brought from the railway colony. In the absence of a boundary wall and playground, the children are often found loitering on the railway tracks.
Headmaster Smrutiranjan Rout said the school had been functioning from the rented house of South Eastern Railway since 1964. The rent is paid from the contingency fund, he said.
While some repair works on the walls, doors and windows were done last year with the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) funds, the State and district authorities are yet to respond to the repeated pleas for a building of its own, the headmaster added.
SSA District Project Coordinator Manoj Behera said land remains a problem for the school building. Besides, the existing rooms cannot be renovated as they belong to railways.