Aurangabad: In a novel initiative, a village in Maharashtra has decided to cut down its expenses on religious activities and instead spend the money to upgrade a zilla parishad school.
The plan is to purchase a two-acre land to expand the school campus, located in Pokhri village of Aurangabad district, zilla parishad chief executive officer Pavneet Kaur said on Tuesday.
Expressing happiness over the initiative, she said, “The villagers have decided to upgrade the school to international standards. The zilla parishad will also contribute whole-heartedly in this endeavour.”
She said villagers have already upgraded the ‘anganwadi’ (government-run women and child care centre) and the computer laboratory of the school.
“Now, they plan to buy two acre land here and expand the school campus,” she added. The present school campus is located on an area of 20,000 sq ft (about 0.45 acre).
“In order to upgrade the school and its facilities, the villagers took a decision three months back to curtail expenses on religious activities,” Pokhri resident Balasaheb Bhosale, who is leading the initiative, said.
The villagers are cutting down expenses on various religious events, including tents and sweets required during the ‘Bhagwat saptaah’ (a week-long religious event), he said.
“We have decided that during various religious feasts, ‘dal’ will be prepared at one place and chapattis will be brought by every individual. The amount saved this way will be used for upgradation of the school,” Bhosale said.
He said they have so far spent Rs 10 lakh to upgrade the school’s computer lab, and to make the anganwadi digital and more attractive.
“For this, Rs 50,000 was provided by the grampanchayat and the rest was contributed by villagers,” he said.
Bhosale said they are now in the process of buying two acre land to expand the school campus and an initial amount has already been paid to the land owner.
“Our village has 450 houses. Each house will contribute a minimum of Rs 5,000. Those having over five acre land will contribute Rs 1,000 per acre above Rs 5,000. This fund will help in buying land for the school,” he explained.
Apart from this, the villagers are also seeking help from government agencies and private CSR funds to construct the school building, Bhosale told.
“We have 240 students studying here so far. Students from nearby villages are also seeking admission for next academic year. People from adjoining villages are also ready to contribute funds for this initiative, but we have not taken a decision on it,” he added.