Kamjong: People residing in the remote village of Ningthi in Manipur’s Kamjong district have expressed anguish over the delay in the construction of the only government-run high school in the village.
According to locals, the junior school was upgraded to high school in 2016. However, in 2017 the school, then built out of wood, was demolished to construct a new building. At that time, 40 students were enrolled in the school.
“It has been almost three years now that the construction work of the school has stopped and despite the repeated requests to the assigned contractors, they have failed to address the issue,” Joyful Shimray, a village authority, and a retired school teacher told EastMojo.
Kamjong district was created in 2016 and has a total area of 2,000 square km. The district, predominantly occupied by the Tangkhul Nagas with 94 per cent and Kukis with 4.59 per cent, has a total population of 45,618, as per the 2011 census.
Due to the lack of basic amenities, locals face severe hardships as most parents with no proper income source have no option but to keep children at home without sending them for education in other places.
Most of the families depend on cultivation for sustenance. Those with better financial condition stay in Kamjong district headquarters, or Imphal for better facilities and schooling for their children.
“It has been many years that we haven’t had a school here in the village. Earlier, we were informed that the school was upgraded to high school. However, it was only announced without having either a school building or teachers,” said Nganaoyo Jajo, father of six kids.
Like many families in the village, Nganaoyo and his wife shuffle between Kamjong and Ningthi village as they their children attend a school in Kamjong.
“Since our kids are still young, we can’t leave them alone in Kamjong. And to support their education and meet our family needs, I have to do various kind of labour work. But it becomes difficult, especially during monsoon season as we have to attend our paddy fields apart from looking after the children,” said Nganaoyo.
Ningthi village has nearly 200 households registered in the village record. However, only around 80 families are permanently living in the village.
Since there is no school, most parents were compelled to send their kids to other places for school. However, many families in the village cannot even afford to keep their kids in Kamjong due to a lack of income, said Shimray.
Shimray, who is also an alumnus of the school, added that of the total amount of Rs 70 lakh awarded for the school project, the contractors had already withdrawn Rs 30 lakh. “But we found out that the ongoing school construction work has been left unattended for long and lying amid the bushes and grasses,” he added.
Expressing his resentment over the delay, Shimray stated that locals had taken pictures of the incomplete construction and reported it to the chief engineer, the concerned MLA and minister. But despite their multiple assurances, nothing has been done till now, he added.
As Shimray recollects, when the school was established in 1958 in the village, it was a source of pride for the locals as many parents from the neighbouring villages also sent their kids for schooling to Ningthi village.
“Those days, classes were conducted regularly, and all of us were eager to go to schools,” said Shimray. But in 2021, the future of the kids seems uncertain, he added.
On January 16, CM Biren Singh had launched 23 projects in the district. Foundation stones for 11 projects costing around Rs 67.80 crore were laid, while 12 projects were inaugurated worth about Rs 24 crore.