Itahari, October 12:

If guardians are to be believed, heel-dragging by the Sunsari District Education Office (DEO) is delaying the construction of a school building, proposed in memory of 13 children who were killed in a tempo accident on April 29, 2006.

Officials at the DEO, however, maintain that the school management committee is yet to file an application for the school’s registration. Guardians said the DEO did not give its consent on time to the construction of the proposed primary school at Bahattar Bigha of Baklauri-9.

It is difficult to purchase land for the purpose as the school is not registered yet, said coordinator of the Thirteen Children Memorial Fund, Sitaram Guragain, adding that construction work would start in the last week of Kartik if the DEO does the needful.

A fund of Rs 17,46,000 has been collected from different bodies for the construction of the school building, said Guragain, adding that Moonlight Boarding has given a written assurance that it will chip in with Rs 7,00,000 by the end of Kartik.

The Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation, Nepal (PABSON), and local community forest organisations have provided Rs 79,000. The district administration and police of the eastern region have provided Rs 1,00,000 and Rs 67,000, respectively.

The school management committee has made preparations to purchase seven katthas of land for the proposed school building. There will be seven concrete rooms in the building, Guragain said.

A guardian, Ganga Prasad Guragain, said that aside from apathy on part of the DEO the project is being delayed because the fund promised by Moonlight Boarding has not been received yet. He added that the committee has planned to inaugurate the school building on the first anniversary of the death of the 13 children.

While the DEO has assured a quota of two teachers to the school for the time being, DEO section officer Gopal Bhattarai said no application for the school’s registration has been filed yet at the DEO.