The Bihar Post

Bihar to bulldoze 10 government schools to widen road and make traffic smooth

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PATNA—The Bihar government has planned to demolish 10 government schools in the state in order to widen a road and make the traffic smooth.

This has hugely annoyed the poor villagers who are apprehensive of serious academic loss their children could suffer as a result of demolition of school buildings.

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Road construction department authorities said the demolition of these schools was necessary to widen national highway-83 which passes through many blocks of Gaya district in Bihar.

Of the total schools to be demolished, four are middle schools, three primary schools and the rest high schools.

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According to an education department estimate, at least Rs38.4 million will be required to construct these school buildings afresh.

The construction of these building will also consume a lot of time which means loss of study to the poor children enrolled in these schools, an education department official said.

“We have sent an estimate to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for compensation but the demolished school buildings could be construction only after lands are arranged and we get the compensation money,” regional deputy director, education department, Ramsagar Prasad Singh told the media.

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According to him, lands should be identified at the nearest location for schools lest this could inconvenience to students.

The proposed demolition of schools has left the local villagers angry. “The studies of our children were already hit badly last year as the schools remained closed due to COVID-19-induced lockdown. Now that the government is demolishing these schools, our children are bound to suffer academic loss again,” a local villager Mahesh Sharma said.

According to a latest UNICEF report, as many as 1.5 million schools remained shut during 2020 as a result of the coronavirus lockdown which badly affected the study of 247 million children enrolled in schools in India.

Local villagers have demanded that government should construct the school buildings urgently since Gaya remains the hottest place in the Bihar due to sprawling sand beds of Falgu river which goes dry all through the year except rainy season.

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“If the school buildings were not constructed soon, this may pose serious health threats to the children due to heat wave in summer which has already approached,” he warned.

This is not the first time that school buildings for poor children have been targeted. Earlier, the Maoists had blown up at least 50 school buildings in Bihar by using dynamites and other explosives to protest government offensive against them.

They blasted the school buildings apprehending that these buildings could be used as camps for security forces to launch operation against them.

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The developments prompted the school children to make an emotional appeal to the Maoists not to destroy the temples of learning.

“Maoist Uncle, why are you targeting our school buildings? What’s our fault? You may have problems with the police but we don’t’ understand why you are angry with us. Please show mercy on us”, the hapless children said in an open letter to the Maoists.

They said the children from poor community were totally dependent on state-run schools for teaching since they couldn’t afford to study in private schools where tution fees were quite high.

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The Maoists responded by expressing regrets for their acts but added it was necessary to demolish schools.

“Dear children, we regret for damaging your school buildings. We know our acts have badly affected your teaching but we have no alternatives other than this”, was how Maoists replied through an open letter.

The letter added, “We are trying to save ‘jungle’ (forests), ‘zamin’ (land) and ‘pahad’ (mountains) which the government is trying to snatch away from us and give them to foreign companies.”

“Now, it’s up to you to decide as to who are the real threats to the country—those who are robbing the country or those who oppose this robbery?” asked the Maoists, describing themselves as the “real nationalists”.

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