Express News Service

PATNA: Responding to a circular issued last month, government-run schools in Bihar have launched a unique protest. The circular, issued on July 22, had directed all such schools to sell empty sacks of food grains that were provided under midday meal scheme and deposit the money with the education department. 

Muhammad Tamizzuddin, principal of one of the government schools in Katihar district, went to the local marketplace with a bundle of empty sacks on his head and started selling them at Rs 10 a piece. The video of this incident has gone viral since, following which the state education department has placed him under suspension. He has been accused of tarnishing the image of the department. 

Angry over his suspension, primary and middle school teachers across the state have resorted to ‘sack sale’ agitation. Every week, teachers can be seen in public selling empty sacks. The teachers have also staged a dharna demanding that suspension of Tamizuddin be revoked. “We are responsible for teaching students, not selling sacks as the government order as asked us to,” said one of the teachers.

State president of Bihar Primary Teachers Association Pradeep Kumar Pappu said that the agitation will continue till the government accepts our demands. He said that the order was impractical and involvement of the teaching fraternity was uncalled for as it will hamper their responsibilities towards children.

The teachers are now planning to demonstrate before CM Nitish Kumar to seek his intervention.

Around 1.30 crore jute sacks of food grains were sent to government schools during 2014-15 and 2015-16 under the midday meal scheme. By selling these sacks at Rs 10 each, the education department would have generated a lump sump Rs 12.7 crore. 

Queries sent to Sanjay Kumar, additional chief secretary of education department, are still awaiting a response.