Demolishing the claim of the Opposition that the state government will not be able to provide shoes to school children, the state education department on Thursday distributed shoes among students of state-run aided and sponsored schools.
Shoes were distributed among students of primary schools at Raina in Burdwan on Thursday.
It may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her trip to Burdwan in connection with Mati Utsav saw some children returning from schools without shoes in January.
She immediately called up the state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee and told him to take necessary steps so that children of all primarily schools do not go to schools bare footed anymore.
The leader of the Opposition Suryakanta Mishra addressed questions asking from where the government will get so many pair of shoes. “This is nothing but the idiosyncrasy of the Chief Minister,” he said.
Md Selim, Lok Sabha MP, said it was really amazing that Chief Minister has suddenly discovered that children in rural areas go to school barefooted.
He criticised Banerjee for taking such a hasty decision and urged her not to make such political gimmicks at the cost of poor children.
There was an environment of festivity in Raina when children were given a pair of black shoes.
“Wearing a pair of shoes while going to school gives additional confidence to the students. Since the British period students of the rural areas are accustomed to go to school without shoes. They have accepted this to be their fate. In monsoon many of them are beaten by snakes and insects. Many had cuts below their feet just because their feet remain uncovered,” said veteran Trinamool Congress leader Manik Bhattacharya.
Many students in the rural area develop hookworm, a kind of disease where the worm enters the body through feet.
Despite treatment a child afflicted with the disease continues to suffer from anemia and their growth gets affected.
Sandip Sinha, headmaster of Jamibati High School in Hooghly, said that there was remarkable change in the attitude of the children when the school authorities on its own distributed shoes among them.
It will be mentioned that Banerjee had said that observing smart children with uniform and shoes on and going to school is a real sight to be admired.
It may be mentioned that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation had distributed school uniforms, books and shoes among its students last week.