After voting day, Mumbai schools have to take out the trash

Despite instructing officials to clean up the premises before leaving on Wednesday, most school authorities found their classrooms in an unusable condition on Thursday morning

While elections are finally over, Thursday morning brought a slew of new problems for school authorities. When the schools-turned-polling centres were reopened last morning, principals were shocked to find their premises in disarray.

School authorities have complained that the classrooms, where voting was conducted on Wednesday, were strewn with garbage. Pic for representation
School authorities have complained that the classrooms, where voting was conducted on Wednesday, were strewn with garbage. Pic for representation

School authorities have complained that the classrooms, where voting was conducted on Wednesday, were strewn with garbage, unused paper, empty food packets, etc. thrown by polling officials. “Our students were expected to sit for exams from 9 am on Thursday. We were shocked to find benches on the ground and the classrooms in a mess.

Since we were low on manpower, we had to hire people, who took more than two hours to set everything back to its place,” said Sangeeta Srivastava, principal of S V P School and T P Bhatia College, Kandivli.

She added that because of the time spent clearing the mess, they had to postpone their exam for a few hours. “Thankfully, the exam was for an optional subject and only a few students were sitting for it,” she told mid-day.

During the Lok Sabha elections held in April, some schools had complained to the Election Commission, highlighting the lack of civic sense of poll officials after they found classroom walls covered in paan stains. However, it seems that their complaints fell on deaf ears, as the poll body took no action.

“Five classrooms and the main hall of our school were used for election on Wednesday. We had requested them to clean up the place before leaving, but on Thursday morning, we found empty water bottles and banana peels in the class.

Even the tables and chairs had not been put back in their original places and our housekeeping staff faced a tough time cleaning up the premises,” said Saba Patel, principal of Anjuman-E-Islam Girls High School in Bandra.

Since the school was expected to be reopened on Thursday, staff members had to clean up the place before students reached their classrooms.

Unexpected holiday
Some schools decided to call the day off because of the unusable condition of the premises, and wearied teachers, some who were on duty till 11 pm on Wednesday.

“I had decided to start the school late on Thursday, but my teachers were tired and most students also did not turn up, so we called off the day. Only the primary section was working in the afternoon session,” said Ramakant Pandey, principal of Bansidhar Agarwal School in Wadala.

Pandey also found garbage lying in the five classrooms that had been used as a polling centre on Wednesday. “We had given clear instructions that they have to clean up the place before leaving, but it obviously did not work.

There is no use complaining to the Election Commission either, because it won’t change anything,” lamented. However, a few school principals kept a close tab on proceedings to ensure their campus was cleared up on Wednesday itself.

“I personally visited the school around 8.30 pm, and was sorry to see poll officials throwing food wrappers and fruit peels on the floor, despite dustbins having been provided in every classroom.

I told them they had to clean up everything before they leave, as we had to conduct exams the next morning,” stated Rekha Shahani, principal of Kamla High School in Khar.

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