With heavy rainfall in the region for the last 20 hours, more than 80 government as well as private schools in Malaut block — falling in Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s constituency Lambi — stayed away from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech.
Most of the schools were flooded with 2-3 feet deep water inside their buildings. Also, the students travel 3-5 kms to reach the schools and hence they preferred to stay back due to the heavy rain.
This block was the same which was the worst affected even last year during heavy rains, as a large number of villages had been flooded due to waterlogging. A few of the villages included Ranniwala, Middha, Mohlan, Pakkitibbi and many others. The schools were a mix of primary, middle and high schools. The school heads had been given the charge to decide whether organising a programme was possible or not as per the weather condition.
Apart from this, situation was the same in border areas of Fazilka and Ferozepur where a number of schools could not organise the programme because of no attendance, while in majority attendance was bare minimum. In about 20 schools in Fazilka, there was no power supply and hence radio was the only option and students in Kabul Shah Khubban village and Oddian in Fazilka revealed that the network was so poor that most of the students could not understand anything.
In Mansa, about 15 villages were struggling to drain out water out of the villages as well as the fields and hence listening to the PM speech was the last thing on their minds. Jherrianwali village in Mansa, which is submerged in knee-deep water due to overflowing of Uddag and Musa canal branches, has been powerless for the last five days. As a result, the government high school in this village remained closed since Monday.
Today the school reopened and water could be seen only in the playground, but there was only a thin attendance of students. Moreover, in the absence of power and Internet facility, a battery operated radio was the only option for the students to listen to the live telecast of Modi.
Badal Singh, sarpanch of the village, said: “Our villagers are busy saving lives and stock from the floods. In the present condition, it was not possible for the children to go to school, majority stayed back home. A number of kutcha houses have fallen in our village, while cracks have appeared in pucca houses. Cracks have appeared in the school building also and the parents fear it is not safe for their children to attend school.”
Similar was the situation in Government Primary School Raipur located nearby, where only 80 students, out of nearly 247, turned up. Staff of four teachers switched on the radio set for these students in one room. Two rooms of this school have also been damaged because of rain. In all the schools located in the outskirts of the villages, no programme was organised as students did not turn up. They have to come 4-5 km by foot and in this heavy rain, who can come,” said Balwinder, a villager of Bannawali village.
In villages — Bishanpura, Bannawali, Bajewala, Ramanandi, Verewala Jatta etc — radio was the only choice. Even in Abohar, not only schools but residential areas were also submerged in 4-5 feet water.
District Education officer (DEO) Mansa Ravinder Mittal, meanwhile, said that they had asked the principals of the schools to take the final call as per the weather condition as already a number of villages were waterlogged in Mansa. DEO Primary Hari Chand Kamboj in Fazilka also said that bad weather was a reason for lesser attendance.