Bhubaneswar, September 13 (LocalWire): The state highway near Naikguda village in Malkangiri today came to a grinding halt when hundreds of girl students sat on the road to protest non-availability of mid-day meal (MDM) to them by the school authorities.
The agitating students from Kasturba Gandhi Girls’ School in Mathili block took everybody by surprise as they marched to the state highway close to their institution.
“There complaint was that the school authorities had stopped serving them the noon meal.
We were in a quandary as the protesting girls did not relent and blocked the highway for almost four hours,” Mathili Block Development Officer Ashis Kumar Bhoi said.
The girls, however, agreed to remove the blockade after they were promised that the MDM would be restored from tomorrow.
“As there was a delay in dispatch of ration, the noon meal was suspended for past four days in the school,” an official said.
“The protest by the girls has paid dividends with the authorities now waking up to take note of their grievance.
The assertion of rights by children is a positive indicator.
It will inculcate in them the combative spirit in future although the highway blockade by them was an illegal act,” rights activist Biswapriya Kanungo said.
Instances of school children from Malkangiri district hitting the streets to register their protest against various issues, from inadequate teachers to lack of toilet and drinking water has been picking up in recent months.
On 14 July, tribal children in a far-flung village of Malkangiri district had adopted a novel way to bring to the notice of the administration the deplorable condition of the road to their school Makadapadar Upper Primary School.
The children wearing school uniforms had planted paddy saplings on the muddy water-logged road as it resembled more of a field than a road forcing the administration to convert it into a motorable road within a month.