Odisha: School in Bahanaga used as makeshift mortuary post train accident reopens

Odisha government has decided to redevelop Bahanaga High School as a model school

Balasore: The Bahanaga school, which was used as makeshift mortuary during triple train tragedy in Odisha’s Balasore district, reopened on Wednesday following completion of summer vacation.

The 65-year-old school is just 500 metres from the accident site. The school was hastily turned into a temporary morgue, following the deadly train accident that claimed the lives of 292 people and injured over 1,000.

The school having classes from 1 to 10 was reopened after conducting a puja in a new classroom. While the mid-day meal serving hall, which was turned as mortuary, was demolished, the classrooms were coloured to give a fresh environment to the students.

However, the first day of the school witnessed a poor attendance. Out of over 550 students, about 200 students attended the school. May be the parents of the students are getting nervous about sending their children back to the building.

“Students are still nervous to come to the school as such a huge number of bodies were preserved in their school. We have tried to convince the students and also their parents,” said a woman member of the School Management Committee.

Balasore District Collector Dattatraya Bhausaheb Shinde and District Education Officer (DEO) Bishnu Charan Sutar visited the school to monitor the situation.

“As per the instructions of the School and Mass Education secretary, I am visiting different schools on the first day of reopening. So, I visited the Bahanaga school too,” said Shinde.

DEO Bishnu Sutar said students are very much encouraged to attend classroom teaching.

In the absence of half of the students, Sutar said, “Many of the students are residing on the opposite side of the railway tracks (accident site). The tracks were sealed. We hope the school will bounce back to its normal attendance when the situation normalises.”

The collector also informed that he had spoken to the Divisional Railway Manager to allow the students to attend the school putting their work on hold during school timing.

Notably, the Odisha government has decided to redevelop Bahanaga High School as a model school. Considering children’s mental health, a decision was taken to demolish the primary and elementary schools in the vicinity of the High School and reconstruct a completely new building with modern facilities.

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