The Karelibaug police on Tuesday detained 29 people, including members of the city unit of the Congress party, who were protesting against the delay in RTE admissions by blocking a road on Tuesday.
Parents of students awaiting admissions in the Right To Education category, 20 days after schools reopened, blocked a road after officials of the District Education Office said they were unavailable to meet them. The parents alleged that even after two rounds of allotment of seats under the RTE Act for students from economically weak backgrounds, many had not been given admissions.
“I have a daughter and we have been waiting for her admission,” Kamlesh Macchi, who works as a contractual labourer, said. “I cannot leave work and keep visiting the DEO’s office and the school as I earn on a daily basis and missing one day of work means missing a day’s wages.”
He said they had been told earlier told that the admission process would take time. “But they should at least give us a deadline,” he said. “Schools have started their academic year already and our children are still home.”
The parents said that they had been asked to visit the DEO on Tuesday but when they reached the office, they were informed that the officials concerned, including the District Education Officer, were unavailable as they were in Gandhinagar. “We did not just randomly land up there. We went there because we were asked to meet the District Education Officer today (Tuesday),” a parent said. Enraged, the parents along with leaders from the Congress, including Prashant Patel and Leader of Opposition in the Vadodara Municipal Corporation Chandrakant Srivastava, protested on the road and blocked vehicles. On hearing of the agitation, Karelibaug police reached the spot and detained 29 people.
The Congress leaders alleged that the delay in admissions shows that the seats reserved under RTE were being given to well-to-do families. “Admissions are not given in accordance with the 25% seats reserved for the BPL (below poverty line) families,” VMC leader of Opposition Srivastava said. “At times parents are told there are vacancies, then they are informed that seats are full. People who belong to well-to-do families are given admissions rather than those in need.”
District Education Officer UN Rathod and Education Inspector managing RTE admissions Shivangi Shastri were unavailable for comment.
The first round of allotment of seats under the RTE Act was held on May 6, when nearly 51% of the total applications received were shortlisted for admissions. A second list was released on June 18.