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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Islet Dwellers Erosion Victim Children Finally Gets School


MALDA, 20 NOV: The inhabitants of Khatiakhana islet have forwarded one more step ahead to materialise their dream as their long voiced demand of setting up a primary school for the islet children was finally granted yesterday. A government aided primary school with two teachers was inaugurated by the officials on the district education department in presence of hundreds of islet-dwellers yesterday in a non-ceremonious programme.

This may be mentioned that at least 19559.30 hector of land has been eroded by the Ganga on the left bank. More than 60,000 families have become refugee. Since 1995 itself, at least 22 villages have been cast away. Those who could afford shifted to Malda town but more than 5000 still are languishing in the banks of the river.  100 odd primary schools and Madrassas, 15 high schools had to be shifted in last thirty years. So far 19 mouzas of Manikchak, Englishbazar and Kaliachak II blocks have been completely eroded. 350 sq km of paddy field, 150 sq km of mango groves-all are lost.  

It is the constant endeavour of Ganga Bhangan Protirodh Nagarik Action Committee (GBPNAC) that a Lok Adalat (people’s court) was held at the behest of National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) back in 2008. However, the islanders had to wait till 2011 before their names enlisted in electoral roll. For the first time, in the last assembly election, that the islanders had cast their vote.

However, the children of the islet were deprived of their basic right of education as there was no school at the islets. The GBPNAC raised the issue before the NCPCR and after a mass hearing the NCPCR urged the district education department of Malda to take initiative of setting up schools in the char (islet). They were asked to submit a report regarding this within 29 October to NCPCR.

The ADM (general) Mr Tarun Singha Roy, the BDO of Kaliachak II Mr Bappa Goswami, the district land and land reforms officer and others visited Hamidpur and Khatiakhana islets on 22 October and primarily selected a 19 cottah of land owned by Mr Suku Mandal who wished to donate the land voluntarily.

Finally, the chairman of the district primary school council (DPSC), the district project officer (DPO) of Sarva Siksha Mission Mr Chinmay Sarkar, the district inspector of schools – primary Miss Tripti Guha and siksha karmadhakshya of Malda Zilla Parishad Mr Abdul Matin inaugurated the school yesterday. Mr Mandal said: “This is a maiden experience to laying the foundation stone and inaugurating a school together.” Giving credit to the movement of GBPNAC Mr Sarkar said: “The movement and the direction of NCPCR together helped establish the school so quickly.”

The school would be known as KKJM Primary School comprising the names of four villages Khatiakhana, Kaklamari, Janakitola and Mangatpur. It has been learnt that 50 students sought admission on the very first day. Mr Sanjay Basak, a leader of GBPNAC claimed: “At least 200 students would be admitted in the school.” It has been learnt that Rs 8.42 lakh has been sanctioned for constructing the school building.

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