Uncertainty looms large over re-opening of Fani-hit schools of Puri

Puri: Though the Odisha government has extended summer vacation of schools till June 25, reopening of institutions damaged by cyclone Fani in Puri district seems uncertain as the restoration work is yet to be completed.

As per reports, over 2,000 schools in the district have been damaged by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani which struck coastal Odisha on May 3.

At the Government Girls’ High School, which is the oldest school of the district, windows, desks and benches of classrooms were damaged due to Fani. Apart from that, school’s roof, boundary wall, main gate and library also suffered major damages by the cyclonic storm. Even the books are still lying on the ground.
Due to the damaged boundary wall, teachers and parents have expressed concern over the safety of girl students inside the school.
“We are worried about the safety of girl students as the boundary wall collapsed during the cyclone,” said the headmistress of the school, Manorama Sahoo.

Pipili Mission High School and Gopabandhu Memorial High School in the district are also reeling under similar conditions. While construction work at some schools is underway, it is uncertain by when the work will get completed.

District Collector of Puri, Balwant Singh, has said that restoration work is being done in all the affected schools.

“The restoration work is underway at all the 1700 government schools including primary, upper primary and high schools,” said Singh.

“Attendance of the students will be affected and there will be a trouble in arranging seats for them,” said Ashok Kumar Swain, a teacher of Gopabandhu High School.

School and Mass Education Minister Samir Dash has assured that students will attend classes on June 26 after the reopening of the schools. “Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Works departments are engaged in the restoration work at schools. Students will definitely attend the classes inside classrooms.”