For the past three months, students studying at Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Chandpur Majra in Kanjhawala village, have had to put up with a whole bunch of unwanted visitors: hundreds of yellow wasps.
The school, spread over an area of 7,000 square feet, seems to have become a preferred hang-out for thousands of yellow wasps, commonly known as ‘tatiyas’.
The insects have taken over the entire campus, claim the students.
“The situation is unprecedented, it is almost an epidemic. From cupboards to store rooms, from classrooms to the playground, you will find a hive everywhere. A week ago, there were about 400 hives, but we burned many of them. The trouble is we can’t reach everywhere, especially when the hives are on the branches of tall trees. Besides, no matter how many hives we burn, new ones keep on springing up,” said a school official.
School authorities have been looking for a solution, but so far it has been a futile quest. They have tried spraying copious amount of insect repellents and smoking out the wasps from their hives, but those steps have failed to drive out the wasps.
School authorities estimate that as many as 250 hives remain on the school campus.
Several rooms, where the wasps have built their hives, have become useless as students and teachers are too scared to enter them.
“We don’t know where they are coming from or why they are not going away. All we know is that the situation requires immediate attention. No one has been seriously injured so far. But if no action is taken soon, things can get bad,” said vice-principal Sanjiv Kumar.
He claimed that school authorities have tried everything possible to get rid of the insects.
“We must have used nearly 60 cannisters of inspect repellents in the last 20 days. We tried burning the hives. We sought the help of pest control companies, but they said they were not capable to deal with this,” said a senior teacher at the school.
“The SDM (sub-divisional magistrate) asked the principal to approach his office through the deputy director’s office, so the school has written to the education department, as well as the MCD, but nothing has happened. The students are sitting in a separate section of the building, where the problem isn’t so severe, but that is only a temporary fix. We really don’t know how to handle this,” he added.
In a letter to the MCD, the school authorities said, “It is hereby informed that the school is faced with a dangerous situation. There are daily cases of bee bites in the school. It puts the lives of students studying in the school at risk”.
“The situation is so adverse that many students have been admitted to the hospital and the dispensary due to the bites. Kindly take urgent action in this regard. Many parents have also made complaints in this regard,” added the letter.
Fearing an attack by the insects, many students have stopped coming to school.
“My parents are really worried…my mother has told me to stop going to class,” said Rakesh, a school student.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government’s education department seems equally clueless about what to do.
“I have never heard of a situation like this. We will first try and figure out what needs to be done in this case and then take action,” said Padmini Singla, director of the Education Department.