Hyderabad Officials Demolish 15-year-old School for Poor
Hyderabad officials demolish 15-year-old school for poor children for encroachment on footpath.
The Alpha school in Jubilee Hills was allegedly demolished by officials of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) at around 8 PM on Sunday.
The school, a make-shift shelter, was set up around 15 years ago and run with by five teachers and a few volunteers.
Managing to keep a minimal dropout rate and succeeding where government schools fail, it also provided free books, bags and stationery to ensure that the kids are sincere.
When I established the school in 2000, the entire area was a slum. Since most of the parents were house helps and daily wage laborers, they could not accompany their children to the nearest government school which was far away.
–Shobha Rani, Founder and Teacher, The Alpha School
Post the demolition, Shobha has approached the state Human Rights Commission to request for allotment of land on humanitarian grounds.
Why was the school demolished?
On paper, the only reason given for razing the school was the illegal encroachment of the footpath.
The New Indian Express quotes a senior GHMC official who claims that a notice was served in February and the school was given several reminders.
Shobha had been running the school for 15 years and had not faced any problem from the encroachment of footpath that she is well aware of.
The reason for the sudden move is the fact that Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is shifting his house to just 20 yards near the school and children running around on the streets would be an inconvenience.
–Sudhakar, Greater Hyderabad secretary, Communist Party of India (CPI)
Some parents also echo a similar view.
The possibility of these children, according to Shobha, falling victim to child labour, or worse, anti-social activities is very high.
After the demolition Shobha has been teaching the children on the same footpath under a tree, close to its earlier location.
After three days of protest, the government took notice of it and has assured relocation of the school within 100 yards of the current location.
The officials have asked the teachers and parents to write their demands in a letter which would personally be taken care of by Hyderabad District Educational Officer M Somi Reddy.
However, Shobha is doubtful about the suggestion as it would entail an unprecedented break in the academic year of these children.
(The story appeared in The News Minute)
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