Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly was adjourned till 3 pm on Saturday following an uproar by Opposition Congress and BJP members over the state government’s decision to close nearly 14,000 schools.
Raising the issue, leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Narasingha Mishra said since education is the fundamental right for all, the state government should immediately roll back its decision. If the government will close down the schools, what will be the fate of the teachers, Mishra asked.
Leader of the Opposition, Pradipta Naik said if the government decides to close the schools, where will the students go. “The minister concerned had said that the primary and upper primary schools having less than 40 students will be merged with nearby schools. If the merger is done, then how the children will go to their new schools covering a long distance from their homes,” Naik asked.
The irate members rushed to the well of the House and urged Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro to convene an all-party meeting in presence of the School and Mass Education Minister, Samir Ranjan Dash.
On his part, the Speaker directed the ministry to furnish a reply in the House in two days.
But as the pandemonium continued to prevail, the Speaker adjourned the House till 3 pm.
Speaking to media later, Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati threatened to commit suicide in front of the Speaker if the state government does not roll back its decision.
The School and Mass Education Minister, however, disclaimed the Opposition’s charge that the government is going to close 14,000 schools. The fact is that the School and Mass Education Department has begun the process to close down a total of 7772 primary and upper primary schools and the Chief Minister will take a call on this matter, he told mediapersons outside the Assembly.
“The intention of the government is not to harass the students by closing down the schools as it is committed to providing them with quality education. I hope that the matter will be resolved at the all-party meeting,” Dash said.