If protection measures are not taken during the dry season, locals fear the rivers will devour these schools in the coming monsoon season
The more than 200-year-old Atgram Government Primary School is on the verge of collapse due to pervasive river erosion in Atrai upazila of Naogaon on the banks of the Chhoto Jamuna and Atrai rivers.
Besides, Baullapara Government Primary School and Gurnai Government Primary School of the upazila are in the same condition, reports a correspondent from Naogaon.
However, the authorities have yet to take any steps to protect these risky schools in remote areas. If protection measures are not taken during the dry season, local residents fear the rivers will devour these schools in the coming monsoon season.
The Atgram Government Primary School was established in 1757. On a visit to the ancient school, this correspondent found the school building now inching towards collapse into the Chhoto Jamuna riverbed as erosion slowly permeates the area.
A few trees have been protecting the school until now. The school authorities and the locals also built a protection wall with limited funds to protect the school from river erosion, but the wall itself has collapsed.
It is the only school to provide primary education to children from the riverside villages. Although the school is already in a very risky condition during the dry season, it will become a death trap for children in the coming monsoon season.
Locals said that the erosion of the river adjacent to the schools should be prevented with concrete blocks or sandbags.
Mukul Uddin, the headmaster of the school, said local children would face irreparable loss if the school building collapsed. “I have informed the higher authorities of the matter on multiple occasions but to no avail as yet.”
Shahidul Islam, president of the managing committee of Atgram Government Primary School, said: “A nominal protective wall was built a few years ago in collaboration with the school authority and local villagers. But it collapsed due to river erosion.”
Naogaon Primary Education Officer Siddique Md Yusuf Reza said: “We have already sent an application to the higher authorities regarding directives to save Atgram, Baullapara and Gurnai schools. However, river erosion issues are in fact under the purview of the Water Development Board.”
Naogaon Water Development Board (WDB) Executive Engineer Arifuzzaman Khan said: “We have already visited Atgram Government Primary School and sent a letter to the higher authority seeking directives in this regard. We will start work as soon as we receive the fund allocation along with instructions.”