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Odisha school students’ drowning case: Inquiry report being studied, says minister

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 23:

The inquiry committee probing the tragic drowning of four high school students in a canal on the outskirts of Odisha’s capital city on Tuesday has cited ‘communication gap’ between school authorities and guardians in its report, said Debi Prasad Mishra, minister School and Mass Education, here today.

Debi Prasad Mishra
Debi Prasad Mishra

The minister while informing that the report was being studied by his department, said any punitive action, suggested by the department, will be taken.

Mishra said the inquiry committee, which had the Khordha sub collector and the district education officer (DEO)-representing the School and Mass Education department- as its members, found that the school authorities did not give any written order to those students not to attend school, neither have they (school authorities) reported the non-attendance of these students to their guardians

“Cohesive bonding among teachers, students and guardians is missing. We need to work on this front and guidelines can be issued to prevent occurrence of such incidents in future” said the minister.

It may be recalled here that four class IX students of the Government High School at Rail Vihar in Chandrasekharpur in Bhubaneswar had drowned in the Barang-Puri main canal on Tuesday while taking bath.

Fourteen class IX students of Government High School at Rail Vihar in Chandrasekharpur in Bhubaneswar had skipped school on Tuesday and had gone to Barang on the outskirts of the capital city.

While in the area, they decided to take a bath in the Barang –Puri main canal that proved fatal for four of them.

Four students had jumped into the canal to rescue a friend whose feet had slipped while he was bathing. Though one of them was rescued, four others were swept away by the strong current in the canal.

According to the statement of a student, who was also in the group that had gone to take bath in the canal, a lady teacher of the school had scolded them and had asked them not to come to school for 15 days as they were found playing during recess by the teacher.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on Wednesday announced an ex gratia of Rs one lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) for the families of each of the four students who drowned in the Barang-Puri main canal on Tuesday.