The ground of Saptibari High School in Aditmari upazila under Lalmonirhat district remains virtually off limits to students as unscrupulous people are using it for selling tobacco. The callous act, disturbing classes and posing health hazards for students and teachers, is likely to continue for three months. PHOTO: STAR
Surprisingly though, premises of several schools in the district are used for yearly tobacco trading from April to June.
The callous act badly hampers academic atmosphere but teachers, students and their guardians dare not protest it as local influential people control the illegal trade.
This year makeshift tobacco markets have been arranged two days a week on the grounds of 13 schools in the district.
Saptibari High School, Saptibari Government Primary School and Saptibari Blind School in Aditmari upazila, and Barabari Baniya Dighee Government Primary School and Kalmati Adarsha High School in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila are among the institutions badly affected by tobacco trading.
On the two market days, students find it hard to move on their school premises and often their assembly is postponed, several students said during this correspondent's visit to the schools.
Bad smell from tobacco makes it hard to attend to lessons, they said.
Setting up of tobacco market on the school ground in April, May and June has continued for years but the school authorities and local administration never take any step against it, said guardians at Saptibari village.
As this correspondent talked to Saptibari High School Headmaster Tayez Uddin, Saptibari Government Primary School headmaster Rasheda Begum and Saptibari Blind School resource teacher Ershadul Haque, they said they are too helpless to protest setting up of the illegal tobacco markets on the school premises as local musclemen arrange it for their own interest.
Contacted, District Education Officer DEO Moslem Uddin and District Primary Education Officer DPEO Nabez Uddin said they have informed the local administration of the matter and the administration is supposed to take legal action in this regard.
Lalmonirhat Deputy Commissioner Habibur Rahman said, "I will take legal action if the authority of the schools concerned submits written complaint. I will talk to the DEO and the DPEO for taking immediate step regarding the matter with the help of administration."