To save River, School razed, Kids at a loss

They came with bulldozers and broke down the school walls, even as children wept. That’s how an anti-encroachment drive on the banks of Harmu rivulet, that passes through Ranchi town went, on the day before Teacher’s day. For the 100 odd kids studying at this government school, it’s feels like an end to their school days. It may be good start to conservation of natural water resources in Ranchi, but it was certainly a terrifying experience to watch a gang of men demolish first boundary walls and then recently constructed toilets.

On Friday afternoon as the district administration’s demolition team pulled down the boundary wall of her school after asking the children to vacate their classrooms.

Dying Harmu Rivulet... encroachments are being removed to save this water source
Dying Harmu Rivulet… encroachments are being removed to save this water source

” Ab kahan padhenge (Where shall I study now),” the daughter of a street hawker said between sobs and sniffles as a portion of the five-year-old government school turned into rubble.

Burmu circle inspector Harendra Singh, who was part of the demolition team, perhaps understood the feelings of the school kids , but shrugged “We are bound by orders. Of course, we feel sorry for these children,” he said.

Principal Sangeeta Kumari told the local media that she had not reamed that the state government would actually demolish the school. She probably thought that the school had ‘immunity’ being state run. “When I found the demolition notice on our gate, I knocked on the door of the deputy commissioner. But, I could not save the school. There will be no classes from Saturday. These children will have to study at home,” she said. Sangeta Kumari can be assured of her salary though. But will she be pro-active in finding learning space for these kids soon? That’s not her call, she says.

SDO Amit Kumar conceded the problem the 100-odd students would face, but said there was no other way out. “The school will be demolished. Encroachment will be removed from the banks of the rivulet. The school can be shifted to another place, but encroachment will not be allowed,” he said sternly.

Anil Tigga, president of the Sarna Samiti, blamed crooked real estate agents. “The government school had to be constructed on the banks of Harmu because land brokers sold government land for construction of private houses,” he said.

[Sent by Sunita Kumari, Ranchi Women’s College, edited by Newsnet desk]