Nashik (Maharashtra), Jul 13 (IANS): The fate of around 600 secondary and higher secondary school students hangs in balance after a bank attached the school building and premises for defaulting on a loan repayment, an official said.
Owned by Anand Education Society (AES), a family trust owned by Nationalist Congress Party politician and former parliamentarian Devidas Pingle, the school is situated in Dari village of Nashik district.
Two days ago (July 11), the school was forcibly seized by the bank officials to implement a three-year-old order passed by the district collector in favour of the bank.
All the classrooms, the office, the chambers of the principal and other top officials were sealed by the bank in an attempt to recover its dues.
In 1998, Pingle had availed of a Rs.20 lakh loan from the Nashik Merchants Cooperative Bank Ltd. (NMCBL), a multi-state scheduled bank.
"The AES had mortgaged the school building and premises against the loan. With interest and other charges, the amount has accumulated to around Rs.6.50 million now, but they have failed to pay up," NMCBL CEO B.M. Shinde told IANS here.
He pointed out that although the NMCBL had secured an order in its favour, the seizure action was prolonged on humanitarian grounds as the fate of poor students was involved.
"However, we were left with no option but to attach the property and initiate further proceedings to recover the bank's outstanding," he explained.
In the meantime, the teaching staff and 600 pupils studying in Classes five to 12, including those preparing for the crucial SSC (secondary school certificate) and HSC (higher school certificate), have been moved to some rooms owned by the village administration.
The temporary premises do not have basic amenities like desks, benches or blackboards, but the beleaguered students are left with no option till the government or some organisations intervene.