Maharashtra: Government school makes 120 students travel in 1 tempo, 8 kids faint – The Indian Express

Eight students studying in a government secondary ashramshala or residential school for tribal children in Maharashtra’s Gondia district fainted due to suffocation and had to be hospitalised on Saturday after they were forced to travel in a small tempo along with more than 100 other students after attending an inter-school sports event 30 km away. The principal and sports teacher of the school in Majitpur were suspended and an enquiry was launched, an official said.
On Saturday evening, around 120 students from the Majitpur school were forced to travel in a small tempo ferrying them back to their school from the venue of the sports event at Koyalari village, around 30 km away.
On their way back, eight girl students fainted, following which the vehicle was immediately taken to the rural health centre in Ekodi. While five students were treated and sent back to the residential school on Sunday, three students who were taken to the government hospital in Gondia were set to be discharged on Monday.
Gondia Collector Nayana Gunde said the school falls under the Integrated Tribal Development Project. “The overcrowding in the vehicle led to a reduced level of oxygen and a few girls, who were already tired from the sports event, fainted on the way,” the collector said.
Project officer Vikas Rachelwar told The Indian Express that principal S K Thulkar and sports teacher N T Lilhare have been suspended with immediate effect and a departmental enquiry has been initiated. “It was the school principal’s responsibility to ensure the safety of students during the event. The distance was around 30 km away. If two vehicles were not available, the principal could have planned accordingly to make two trips so that all 120 students could be taken back to school comfortably,” Rachelwar said.
“There was no issue of expenditure as the bills of expenses were going to be paid by the government’s project office. This shows sheer negligence by the principal and so the action has been initiated,” he said. Rachelwar added that it was an inter-school sports competition to shortlist players for a project-level sports competition. All the students, he said, were already tired from the event followed by a dance programme that concluded sports day.
“These were older students from Classes VIII to XII and forcing them to travel together in such an uncomfortable situation is unacceptable,” local MLA Vijay Rahangade, who visited the school, said, demanding strict action in the case.
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Pallavi SmartPallavi Smart is a Principal Correspondent with the Indian Express Mum… read more

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