90 of 165 SC/ST students return to hostel

Rayagada: At least 90 of the 165 inmates of government-run `Sevasram` school in Maoist-hit and tribal-dominated Rayagada district  who had fled alleging neglect by authorities, have returned, official sources said today. "165 boy students of the Sevasram at Dangasurada had left their hostel on Sunday evening. However, 90 of them have returned to hostel last night", district welfare officer Damodar Meher said today.

Of the total 326 students from Class I to Class X in the school there were 205 boys and 121 girls. Of them, 165 boys and 100 girls were put up in the school hostel. The students alleged they had written several times to the authorities seeking quick steps to solve their problems but it had fallen on deaf ears. Apparently peeved over the alleged neglect like lack of basic amenities, the students put up posters on the school walls and nearby places before leaving the hostel.

Their problems included alleged lack of sanitation and drinking water facility in the hostel leading to health hazards, inadequate teaching staff, non-payment of pocket money, incomplete hostel building for girl students and non-cooperation and misbehaviour of the staff. The students had drawn the attention of the district collector, sub-collector and block development officer besides the DWO to their problems, Meher said.

The additional district welfare officer (ADWO) and local welfare extension officer (WEO) had gone to the spot to inquire into the matter, Meher said, hoping the remaining 75 students would also return soon.