Two schools on brink of collapse | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 10, 2018

Two schools on brink of collapse

Students and teachers of a government primary school in Kalmakanda upazila of Netrakona are extremely worried that their school might be devoured by the Shakhai river, while the Jhinai river has almost washed away the only building of a government primary school in the last couple of days in Ghatail upazila of Tangail.

Rika Government Primary School, which was established at Nagargati village in Borokhapon union in 1970, is the only government primary school in four remote villages of the upazila. The road connecting the school with the main road has been washed away, locals said.

The new two-storey building of the school was constructed as a school-cum-flood shelter in 2009.

Headmaster Mrinal Kanti Biswas said the students and teachers have been attending school at great risk. Erosion by the Shakhai river started in 2010 and the fear of being washed away has gripped us since then, he said.

The rate of erosion has increased in recent days as the flood water started receding, said Shyamol Kanti Bhowmik, a resident of the village.

“I informed the authorities concerned about the matter several times, but no step has been taken yet,” the headmaster said, adding that he also informed them on Monday

He demanded construction of a boundary wall immediately to save the school.

Mahfuz Mia, a fifth grader of the school, said the fate of the school is a matter of great concern, but no one is coming forward to save it.

Mohammad Morsalin Akanda and Oyishi Chakraborty of the same class urged the administration to take steps for protection of the school.

Abdul Hannan Akanda, one of the founder members of the school, said if the school is devoured by the river it would be a debacle for this remote area.

Borokhapon Union Parishad Chairman AKM Hadiuzzaman said a dam was constructed by local Water Development Board in 2015 on emergency basis, but it was washed away in last year's flash flood, putting the school at high risk.

“If a boundary wall is built alongside the school, it could be saved,” the chairman said, adding that construction will need around Tk 20 lakh.

“We also appealed to local political leaders for their support to save the school from the wrath of the river, but nothing has been done so far,” lamented the chairman.

Admitting the critical state of the school at present, Upazila Primary Education Officer Md Monirul Islam said he has informed the higher authorities to take necessary steps immediately.

The Jhinai river, a branch of the Jamuna river, has almost devoured the only structure of the Kurmurshi Government Primary School at Ghatail upazila in Tangail in the last couple of days.

As there is no alternative, the students are attending classes in a risky tin-shed.

The school, situated beside the river at Kurmurshi village under Digholkandi union, has 129 students.

Erosion started due to the non-stop rain for the last few days, devouring a large portion at the back of the school building, said Mohsina Roshni, an assistant teacher.   

Earlier, the school authorities tried to save the structure from the erosion by erecting a bamboo fence and also dumping sand, she said.

However, a large portion of the basement as well as concrete walls of the school structure collapsed due to strong current, she added.

The whole structure may be devoured by the river anytime and education may be hampered at an important time of the academic year, said Headmistress Nasima Khatun.

"I have already written to the authorities concerned for shifting the school to other place immediately," she added.

Ghatail Upazila Parishad Vice-Chairman Mohammad Arif Hossain, now acting chairman, said he has already visited the school and urged the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to shift the school structure to another place.

After visiting the school, Ghatail Upazila Education Officer Selim Akhter said the school will be shifted to another place as soon as possible.  

Our correspondents in Mymensingh and Tangail contributed to this story.

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