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24 Jun 2017

Hill boarders return home - 7,000 Students make use of relief & leave

Students haul their luggage at an amusement park in Siliguri on Friday after the descent from the hills. Vehicles carrying the students converged on the amusement park as there was no parking space elsewhere in Siliguri town
KINSUK BASU AND BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT, Darjeeling/Siliguri, June 23: Around 7,000 boarders from schools across the Darjeeling hills started leaving at the break of dawn today, cashing in on a 12-hour relaxation in the strike by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
The Morcha relaxed the strike from 6am to 6pm today to enable boarders at the hill schools to go home for summer vacation. The hills have around 40 schools where students from different parts of India and abroad study.
Most of the schools had their buses and SUVs ready to pack in students and teachers and take them to the plains.
Anxious parents, who had assembled in Siliguri, kept calling up the authorities, trying to get exact details of the arrangements.
Senior police officers said they made it sure that the routes to the plains had no barricade and there was no obstruction to the vehicles carrying the students and teachers. Some of the vehicles had posters "School Students" pasted on the windshields.
"There are 450 boarders at our school. We have brought all of them down. We hope classes will resume next month and students will return safely without any hassle," said a senior teacher of a Darjeeling school who was accompanying the students.
According to him, the institution has students from Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand and Bangladesh.
Today, three Thai students took flights from Bagdogra to return home.
In Siliguri, around 150 vehicles carrying the students were guided to Savin Kingdom, an amusement park, at Dagapur off NH55.
"As the amusement park has adequate parking space and refreshment facilities, the vehicles were asked to converge there. Parents were also told to reach there. Everything went off in a planned manner," an officer of Siliguri metropolitan police said.
Madan Sarki, a resident of Hasimara in Alipurduar district, was one of the happy fathers as he found his 12-year-old son seated in a vehicle that came down from Jorebungalow near Darjeeling town.
"I cannot withdraw him from the school in the middle of the session. But definitely, I am looking for some other institutions where he can get admission next year. We don't want to face such an uncertainty," he added

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