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Sunday, August 26, 2012

DPO Orders to Close Girls’ Hostel after Boarders’ Sickness Repeated

MALDA, 4 JULY: As the number of sick girl boarders at Kasturba Gandhi girls’ hostel of Mathurapur Tilaksundari girls’ high school keeps increasing, the district project officer (DPO) of Sarva Siksha Mission (SSM) ordered to close the hostel for seven days. DPO also placed a confidential report to the district magistrate (DM) today regarding the condition of the hostel. The teacher in charge (TIC) of the school has been accused for failure in performing her duties, as learnt from sources.

Three boarders of the girls’ hostel Soma Mandal, Mampi Mandal and Chandana Mandal fell sick on 2 July night who were admitted to Manikchak hospital. Last night another three girls Smriti Mandal, Smriti Ghosh fell ill again which compounded insecurity among the boarders.

This may be mentioned that in March this year at least 28 girls fell critically ill allegedly after consuming food in the hostel. It caused a huge uproar even then and the school authorities and the TIC Ruma Saha was alerted.

Repetition of the same incident has raised questions regarding the role of the TIC in managing the hostel. Yesterday a number of guardians agitated in front of the school alleging that the stale and under quality food was being served at the hostel.

Block development officer (BDO) S Dukpa visited the hostel yesterday. After three more girls fell ill, the DPO of SSM Chinmay Sarkar, additional district magistrate – development (ADM-D) Nilkamal Biswas and BDO Mr Dukpa visited the school again today. Sarkar later said, “TIC Ruma Saha’s role as the crisis manager was not at all satisfactory. An order has been issued to close the hostel for at least seven days as the sickness of the boarders of the girls’ hostel allegedly after consuming food has become recurrent here.” Later a report was submitted to the DM in this regard.

Notably, there are 12 Kasturba Gandhi hostels in the district. While there has been no complaint yet against rest 11 schools, sickness of boarders was repeatedly reported at the hostel of the Mathurapur Tilaksundari girls’ school. A senior coordinator of SSM, on the condition of anonymity, said, “During the tenure of the former Headmistress there was no allegation regarding the functioning of hostel in this school but since the TIC took charge, sickness of the girls has become our concern.”

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