Jhapa, February 10:

Students of the Devi Primary School at Bahundangi-8 have been unable to attend classes because of rampaging wild elephants.

Thirty-one children have been unable to attend classes for want of funds. As the elephants have destroyed crops, the parents have no money to pay for the education of these children. The children have been unable to attend classes because they have to be stationed in the fields to guard crops against menacing elephants. Pointing that elephants have destroyed their crops, parents said: “We cannot send our children to school because we have no money to pay for their education.” “When the guardians were asked to send their children to the school, they said they could not do so as the children have to look after the houses and crops since the guardians have to go to work,” a teacher at the school, Dhrub Kumar Thapa, said.

“Six students of grade I, three students of grade II, eight students of grade III, seven students of grade IV and seven students of grade V have stopped coming to school from the beginning of the session this year,” Thapa said, adding: “Most of the students are from the Dalit and underprivileged communities.”

Bahundangi, Shantinagar, Budhabare and Shanischare VDCs in Jhapa are among the affected VDCs. Elephants from India have been creating terror and damaging property worth crores of rupees in the VDCs for the past 30 years. Though stop-gap attempts were made to solve the problem, no long-term plan has been introduced for a lasting solution.