Sardarpur (Madhya Pradesh): Going to school is a herculean task for as many as 40 children of Sardarpur tehsil who have to cross a river – on foot. Monsoon adds to their woes as the students are left with two options – either to swim through the swollen river or altogether skip their classes.
In absence of any bridge on the Koteshwar river, the 40 students from three hamlets in Gulripada, Rajghata, and Rasanya hamlets under Kachnaria gram panchayat of Dhar district have to wade through knee-deep waters to reach their school.
Many times parents of the little ones carry them on their shoulders and cross the river. This middle school in Kachnaria has a strength of 258 students and five teachers.
The village encircled by small hillocks is situated around 46 kilometres away from the tehsil headquarters. The population of villages/hamlets that fall under the gram panchayat stands around 5000 and is 100 per cent tribal. The area got its primary school way back in 1981.
Nearly 21 years later, in 2002 this school upgraded to a middle school. Though the school has been upgraded its development remains a distant dream even after 42 years of its inception.
A school teacher on condition of anonymity claimed that four years ago, around 60 students were enrolled from six hamlets falling under Kachnaria gram panchayat, but the number has come down to 40 as villagers from three hamlets - Devgarh, Imlipada and Vatyapada are not willing to send their children to the school and they have enough reason for this.
Whenever school teachers visit their place to convince them to send their wards to the school, the villagers say that they are ready to give up on their dreams to get their children educated, but would not compromise their children's life.
Four classrooms for 258 students
In the lone middle school at Kachnaria village, as many 123 girls and 135 boys students are pursuing their education. The school has six rooms but for these 258 odd students who study in classes first to eighth only four rooms are available.
Two of the six rooms are in dilapidated state and SDM had prohibited holding any classes in these two classrooms. As many 130 students of the primary section are made to sit together –irrespective of their classes- in one room.
The other room is earmarked for office purposes, however, teachers prefer to use the Veranda for carrying out the administrative and office work as this makes room free for the students. The middle school has 128 students and classes from sixth to eighth are conducted at the remaining three rooms.
Memos submitted, but nothing happened: Sarpanch
Kachanaria gram panchayat sarpanch, Panji Damar while talking o Free Press said he has been elected sarpanch for the fifth consecutive time and during his tenure, he had approached public representatives, administration several times for getting the bridge constructed over the river.
We have handed over memorandums and demand letters through the panchayat requesting for the construction of a bridge, but all our requests and pleas fell on deaf ears, he added.