(Eds: With more details) Kolkata, Jan 31 (PTI) Schools for classes 8 to 12, colleges and varsities will reopen in West Bengal on February 3, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday.
Addressing a press conference, Banerjee said flights from Delhi and Mumbai will be allowed to operate daily, instead of thrice a week.
The ban on flights from the UK to Kolkata was also lifted but passengers need to undergo RT-PCR tests, she said.
The government also allowed 75 per cent workforce to attend office, instead of the earlier 50 per cent.
The night restriction on movement of people was reduced by an hour and will no be in force from 11 pm to 5 am, Banerjee said.
Cinema Halls and auditoriums were allowed to host shows with 75 per cent capacity, she said.
“COVID-19 situation in Bengal has improved. Schools will reopen on February 3 for classes 8 to 12. Colleges, universities, polytechnics, ITIs will also restart offline classes on the same day. We are not reopening primary schools right now,” Banerjee said.
“We will decide on reopening primary schools later,” she added.
The restrictions will be in place till February 15.
Students’ organisations that were demanding that schools and colleges be reopened welcomed the government’s announcement but said that the decision was taken under pressure.
SFI state secretary Srijan Bhattacharya said the government has finally responded to the just demand after “playing with the future of lakhs of students”.
“For airing the demands of ordinary students, our activists were beaten up and arrested by the police over the last few days,” he alleged.
Bhattacharya said the government should now ensure that classes are held with all COVID safety guidelines.
The ABVP said the state government unnecessarily delayed making a simple decision, which would benefit students.
“Even today, at least 18 ABVP activists were taken into custody when they were going to meet Education Minister Bratya Basu in Bikash Bhavan to raise our demands. They just wanted the government to know how the students were suffering as schools and colleges were closed,” ABVP national secretary Saptarshi Sarkar told PTI.
The Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) said the chief minister took a timely and appropriate decision.
“The ‘Paray Sikshalay’ (neighbourhood classes) programme and normal classes in schools will now be held simultaneously,” said TMCP state president Trinankur Bhattacharya. PTI SCH SUS SOM SOM
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Source: The Print