Mrunal Manmay Dash

The education system in Odisha is grappling with many problems, and the absence of proper infrastructure is one of them. The sorry state of affairs of school infrastructure in Odisha was exposed after teachers of a school in Kandhamal were seen collecting water from a far-away steam in the jungle to prepare mid-day meal.

The incident was reported from Bujula Upper Primary School under Kandhamal’s Daringibadi block and it came to the fore after the headmaster of the school vented his frustration on social media after failing to secure a hand pump for the school despite repeated requests to the authorities.

As per reports, teachers of the school have to move at least 2 km every day with plastic jars to a stream in the jungle to collect water because the school does not have a tube well.

Sources said the lone tube well at the school has been lying defunct since many years. The students depended on the solar operated pump a kilometre away. But it has become defunct too, restricting the preparation of mid-day-meal in the school.

Speaking about their ordeal, a teacher of Bujuli UP School said, “It has been 20-25 days we are collecting water for mid-day-meal this way. Our school does not have a tube well. Though there was a solar pump 700 metres away, it has broken down since a month. So we are forced to take water from this stream.”

“Villagers are collecting water from here to cook food and to drink. So we decided we would collect this water for school as well. This stream is inaccessible by two-wheelers, let alone four-wheelers. We park our bikes far away, cross this small hill on foot, collect water from here and return to our bikes on which we take our water to the school,” the teacher added.

“We have informed this to the higher authorities. The issue was also discussed in the MIC meeting. Unfortunately, a tube well has become a distant dream for us. The school requires funds for other amenities as well, but we are still awaiting it,” he rued.

No comments could be obtained from the district administration in this connection by now.