What do you expect to hear when you cross a primary school?  Chatterings of school kids and chanting of alphabets or multiplication tables, right? But not in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh. Here all you will hear near the schools is the mowing of cows and the smell of cow dung. Why? Well, because the new premises of a government primary school in located in Kevlali village, which was actually set up seeing the interest of locals in academics, has been converted into a cowshed. Interestingly, this school-cum-cowshed is situated in Bundelkhand -a region that gave several toppers in this year’s MP board exams, including the class XII top ranker.

The panchayat decided to build the school in this hamlet after seeing the signs of increasing education levels. Children in higher numbers were enrolling in schools and the dropout rates were falling down. Hence, two additional rooms and a hall was built around 100 metres away from the old school building. However, the school still continues to run in the old, broken building, while the new building, decorated with diagrams of eclipses and equations, is now filled with fodder stacked up in one corner and cow dung is scattered all over the place.

According to the villagers, the building had been encroached upon by Lakhan Singh Rajpoot, an influential local. The Headmaster of the school Aman Singh said timidly that he had “already informed the authorities” about it.

H P Kurmi, the district project coordinator of school education and the immediate supervisor of primary schools of the region, told The Times of India that the administration will take action. “We will file an FIR against the man who converted the school into a cowshed. I have directed the school headmaster to get the new classrooms vacated to allow the students to sit there,” he said.

He also added that the new building was made by the gram panchayat when the strength of the students shot up suddenly. “However, now that a lot of students have dropped out, the school premises is lying vacant. And as far as the cattle is concerned, the stray animals enter the empty buildings at times,” Kurmi tried explaining.

Minister of school education Vijay Shah told The Times of India that he did not know of the encroachment.”Now that you have told me, we will ensure that the cattle are removed from the school building,” he said.