Burdened with heavy school bags, a 12-year-old student from Chandrapur district of Maharashtra is all set to stage an agitation to highlight the plight of thousands of children like him who carry a load of 5-7 kg on their shoulders daily to attend classes.
Rugved Raikwar from Vidyaniketan School will be holding a sit-in at the RBI square in Nagpur on October 2, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti to draw the attention of the state administration towards the hardships and health hazards which the students face due to the cumbersome bags.
"Reducing the weight (burden) is the core remedy," Rugved told reporters on Wednesday, which he says is "the first tiny step in the direction" of resolving this issue.
Earlier, Rugved had written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.
"A 15-day time would have been sufficient for the government to formulate norms on reducing burden of school bags and thus fulfill my demand. But nothing has been done so far. This apathy has forced me to battle it out with them at the RBI square. And Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) is the best day to wage a war against the bag burden of students," he said.
Rugved has applied to the local police for a formal permission for his proposed day-long dharna. However, he has not received a nod in this regard, considering his age.
"I will go ahead with the agitation for the sake of thousands of students like me. After all, it is the question of health as well as the future of students," he said.
Last month, Rugved, along with one of his classmates held a press conference in Chandrapur on the issue and offered some alternatives to resolve this problem, which they said failed to strike a chord with the school principal when they approached him.
They suggested that the authorities make arrangements for keeping their daily work books in school or reduce the number of periods per day.
As per directives of Bombay High Court, the state government had earlier this year issued a circular underlining guidelines on reduction of weight of school bags carried by students on the recommendations of a committee.
The state had informed the HC that it had also fixed the responsibility on principals and school management to follow the circular and would take action against those not obeying this rule.
According to government pleader, there are 1.06 lakh schools in the state and the circular is binding on them.