Thousands of children return home without performing at the function

Cyclone Nilam played spoilsport at the official 57th Karnataka Rajyotsava celebrations here on Thursday as thousands of school children had to return without performing.

The programme, attended among others by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, was restricted to Rajyotsava speeches by dignitaries followed by patriotic songs. Neither was there march-past nor were there cultural programmes at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

The public instructions department called it quits soon after the stage programme was over and asked teachers to take students safely.

S. Leelamma, headmistress of Malleswaram Ladies Association (MLA) High School, told The Hindu that she and her colleagues had brought 90 students for the programme. While some of them welcomed the dignitaries with Poorna Kumbha, others who were slated to participate in the march-past were disappointed as it was cancelled, she said.

Commissioner of Pubic Instructions G. Kumar Naik said that though the children were enthusiastic to perform, the department decided otherwise in the wake of constant drizzle. Safety and health of children was more important than staging cultural programmes, he said.

Achievements

Speaking at the function, Mr. Shettar listed out various achievements of the Bharatiya Janata Party government and said the government was committed to improving places of historical importance relating to Kannada and Karnataka.

He said: “Many places, including the place where the oldest Kannada inscription, Halmidi, was found are in a state of neglect. The government will make special efforts to preserve and improve these places.”

Stating that earmarking Rs. 10,794 crore for primary and secondary education amounted to 12.54 per cent of the 2011-12 budget, Mr. Shettar said the government gave priority to primary education. The government this year distributed 5.56 lakh bicycles to students of 8th standard while 65.12 lakh students in 56,771 schools have been the beneficiaries of the midday meal scheme.

Mr. Shettar said commercial operations on Reach 3 of Namma Metro would start in another six months. Another 114 services will be added from November 2 to the existing 151 services under the Sakala scheme, he said.

Primary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri said the department had been promoting the State’s cultural heritage by including them in the textbooks.

Arrested

About six activists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India and Students Federation of India threw leaflets at the venue stating that BJP leaders had no moral right to participate in the Rajyotsava celebrations in the wake of closure of government schools. The police arrested the activists later.