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Featured Image: File photo of Mamata Banerjee distributing by-cycles to students in South 24-Parganas district. 

By A Newsman

Bankura, 22 September: CALL it the height of irony or the result of a myopic vision of the bureaucrats!

Distribution of bi-cycles that is aimed at reducing school dropouts in rural Bengal is now forcing the students at a higher secondary school in Bankura district to stay away from their classes for the past over one month!

This after the civil administration in Bankura-II development block converted 11 classrooms at the Bikna Kshirode Prasad Smriti Vidyapith into temporary storerooms for bi-cycles meant for distribution to secondary students of the area.

There are around 1,300 bi-cycles that have been kept in the classrooms and some are kept on the school veranda. The civil administration has posted a few civic police personnel to guard the cycles and they are occupying another classroom in the school.

This has forced the school authorities to completely suspend the theory classes for X – XII standards since 1 September. Only science lab practical sessions are being held for the higher secondary students. The number of students in the three standards in the school is around 565.

The school principal Asish Chatterjee says he has already written to the Bankura-II block development officer, the district inspector of schools and even the district magistrate of Bankura over the issue but to no avail so far. He wrote to the district magistrate on 27 August.

Peeved over the matter, the Left –backed All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA) served a memorandum to the district inspector of schools Pankaj Sarkar on 18 September demanding that the bi-cycles be kept somewhere else so that the classes could resume.

But Sarkar is pleading helplessness and saying that the matter is under the direct control of the district administration and he could hardly do anything about it.