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Little hearts broken after school bulldozed Little hearts broken after school bulldozed

Jul-01-2015 | 0 Comments

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HYDERABAD: For the last two days, Amar, 4, is wondering why he isn't in school like the other kids of his locality.However, his mother has no answers and has failed to satisfy the little boy, who often breaks into tears. Two days after earth-movers suddenly razed to ground a 14-year-old school for the economicallyweaker sections in the tony Road No 22 Jubilee Hills, distraught parents of 120-plus children are knocking every door to get justice.
"Education department officials bundled school books and other sundry items in a huge truck, and took it away . The older kids were shocked, but the young ones were just crying," said Sumitra A, a teacher of Alpha School, set up by a group of volunteers.

Education department officials claimed that the school was unrecognised and had to be demolished.And even though they promised to admit the children in nearby government schools, Alpha authorities and parents smell a rat. They surmised that that the school was probably becoming an eyesore in the area, where the rich and powerful reside including Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

Angry school management, aided by the Communist Party of India (CPI), filed a petition with the State Commission for Human Rights (SHRC) seeking right to function in the same area. The petitioners, Shoba Rani (the founder and principal of Alpha school) and D Sudhakar, CPI Telangana executive member stated in the petition that they have "doubts that this might have happened only after AP CM Chandrababu Naidu came to the area as resident and for security reasons they might have asked to remove the said school."

The SHRC later on Tuesday summoned the district education officer Somi Reddy and tehsildar Chandra Kala and asked them to submit a report by July 13.The school, meanwhile, will function from the same location after erecting a temporary shed.

The school has been imparting free education from LKG to class four and runs on donations. Majority of the students belong to parents working as gardeners, drivers and domestic workers in the same vicinity.

"Since the education was free and the school was near our house, I could afford to educate my daughter. However, her future now is uncertain," said D Pushpa, a distressed parent. In their petition, the complainants said the education department didn't object in the last 14 years.

"We were running the school for the uplift of downtrodden. Its demolition has only left parents and teachers in a lurch," said Shoba Rani, principal and founder of the school.

Although the education department has promised to shift the students to nearby government schools, activists fear that majority of them would either drop out or be forced into child labour if the location is changed. "The government officials assured us that the children would be shifted in nearby government schools which are situated in Borabanda and Indira Park, three kilometres away from the school's current location. However, none of the parents can afford transportation expenses leading to high dropout rate and child labour," said D Sudhakar, the petitioner.

Officials from education department cite lack of recognition and basic facilities as reasons behind the demolition of the school. "The school was functioning on a footpath. It's dangerous for students to study in such unsafe environments. We are ready to provide transportation to children willing to join the government schools," added S Venkateswarlu, deputy education officer.

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