BARIPADA: Exposing themselves to vagaries of nature, students of Shrishapal New Primary School in Moroda of Mayurbhanj district attend classes under a thatched roof with no wall. Lacking a building of its own, the primary school has been running from the shade since 2002 after a tribal villager Shymasundar Majhi donated six decimal land. Both students and teachers sit on the ground. A total of 33 students including 18 girls study in the school.
Locals said though `50,000 was sanctioned by the State Government for construction of a permanent building, the school authorities could not utilise it as the piece of land originally belonged to Majhi, a Scheduled Tribe. As per land laws, SC/ST land can’t be acquired by the Government or any other community. Parents and villagers had met the higher officials to find a way out but nothing has materialised yet.
Ramay Marandi, a villager, said despite several requests to the Block Education Officer, District Project Coordinator of SSA, the Collector and MLA Maharaja Prabin Chandra Bhanjdeo for construction of a building, no step has been taken. During rainy season, villagers hesitate to send their kids to the school which remains closed for most of the days, he added.
Headmistress Salma Hembram said, “The State Government had provided financial assistance of `50,000 for a building. But, it remained unspent for several years and later we returned the fund. Though the kin of late Shymsundar Majhi had given no-objection certificate (NOC) through an affidavit on the land, the block education officials are yet to take steps in this regard.”
When contacted, District Education Officer (DEO) Dhruba Charan Behera said due to land dispute, the district administration has failed to construct the school building. Steps are being taken to resolve the issue for larger interest of school students, he added.
According to sources, Shrishapal school is not the solitary example in the district which has several pockets where primary education is in a shambles despite money in crores being spent for infrastructure and a host of schemes being launched for this sector.