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A 125-step climb to school

Following a memorandum of understanding between the Nanded village Panchayat and Leighton Ose, a global construction major, in January 2008, it was decided in the middle of the year that the school would be relocated in the village, reports Rajesh Jauhri.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2009 00:54 IST
Rajesh Jauhri

It’s a 125-step steep climb, before you reach there. Well, it’s not a temple where you don’t mind a torturous journey.

It’s a government high school on a hilltop on the Agra-Mumbai Road near Mhow —about 35 km from Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

It was shifted to this village, Nanded, as the old school building had to be demolished for the Rau-Khalghat National Highway project along the Agra-Mumbai Road.

And the only place the authorities could find was this hilltop.

Following a memorandum of understanding between the Nanded village Panchayat and Leighton Ose, a global construction major, in January 2008, it was decided in the middle of the year that the school would be relocated in the village. Village Sarpanch Sorambai Makwana told the Hindustan Times that the school had to be shifted to the hilltop as that was the only big plot of land available.

Makwana said, “The new building is considered to be a gift. The earlier one was on only two bighas of land (one bigha is 3,025 square yards), while the new one boasts of eight bighas.”

He said, “Earlier, there were six rooms in the school, but now 13 rooms have been built, besides six additional rooms constructed by the Panchayat. The facilities are far better and the playground far bigger.”

Classes began on April 15 when the new academic year began this year. Now, the school is closed for summer vacations, to be reopened on July 1. The only hitch, however, seems to be the climb.

But a village Panch, Sahdev (who uses only his first name), said rural children are tougher than their urban counterparts. Such conditions will help them become even tougher.

Although there are allegations that the builder had not completed an approach road and a boundary wall, as were stipulated in the agreement, an official, who did not want to be quoted, said it would be done very soon.