Bihar Bureaucrats Clash Over School Closures Due to Cold Wave

Bihar Bureaucrats Clash Over School Closures Due to Cold Wave

Patna officials clash over school closures sparks controversy. District Magistrate asserts authority, Education Department pushes back.

IANSUpdated: Tuesday, January 23, 2024, 06:23 PM IST
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Representative Image | IANS Image

Patna, Jan 23 (IANS): Two top bureaucrats of Bihar --KK Pathak, additional chief secretary of the education department and Patna District Magistrate Chandrashekher Singh -- are at loggerheads over leave of educational institutions in the last few days.

The feud started between these two officers after Chandrashekher Singh ordered that all schools, Anganwadi centres and coaching institutes from nursery to Class 8 will remain closed till January 23 due to cold wave and dip in temperature in the city. Class 9 to 12 can remain open with precautions. He claimed that cold waves could trigger health hazards for minor children.

“We have decided in the interest of the health of children and my decision cannot be challenged under the legal procedure, the district magistrate has the power to take such decision in the interest of common people. Such a decision of the district magistrate cannot be reviewed by any authorities. Only the higher courts are the competent authority to change the order of district magistrate,” Singh said.

“The temperature of January 22 in Patna was 5.5 degree Celsius and it was an uncomfortable situation even for bigger people. We have taken the decision keeping in view of smaller children. The bigger children in Class 9 onwards stay away from that order but schools have to take necessary precautions,” Singh said.

When asked about the ongoing row between him and the education department, Singh said that he has informed the education department through letter and also said that the order of district magistrate cannot be turned down by any authority.

As per the code of criminal procedure of 1973 under section 144, the district magistrate took the decision to shut the schools. If anyone would change the decision forcibly, they are liable to face jail term for 6 months and Rs 1000 fine.

The controversy between Patna DM and education department started on January 20 when KK Pathak himself wrote the letters to all divisional commissioners to ask the district magistrates to open the schools. He also said that the district magistrates have no power to close government schools, still Patna DM extended the leave till January 23.

Thereafter, education department director Kanhaiya Prasad Singh wrote letters to district education officers to open the government schools, following which the Patna DM wrote a letter to the education department director informing him about the rights he has been given under the code of criminal procedures.

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