…and there was light | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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…and there was light

On Sunday morning, Aditya Thackeray, son of Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, walked up to his father with a copy of the Hindustan Times.

mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2010 01:13 IST
Kunal Patil

On Sunday morning, Aditya Thackeray, son of Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, walked up to his father with a copy of the Hindustan Times.

The edition featured a report on how 25 students, using the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru garden at the entrance of the Sion fort as a place to study, had to rely on candles, lanterns and torches for light at night.

Two days later, the students—they were preparing for their Class 10, Class 12 or engineering and management entrance exams--were studying under ten halogen lights.

On Tuesday evening, the students, who have formed their own forum, send this photographer a message: “Thank you very much for lighting up Sion fort.”

Aditya (20), who is also studying for his final year degree college exams, said he could relate to the stress the students were under. “I read the report and felt a genuine concern for those students appearing for board exams and studying under such conditions,” said Aditya, in a text message to HT. “I was also deeply ashamed at the pathetic condition of the state and the concern the government has for the students…”

Local Sena Corporator, Mangesh Satamkar, on Uddhav’s instructions, visited the garden on Monday and asked the students were they wanted lights put up. “I’ve put up halogen lights as a temporary arrangement,” said Satamkar. “BEST [Brihanmumbai Electric and Suburban Transport undertaking] officials have assured me they will put up an extra electric pole in the garden.”

The study room in the garden is in a dilapidated condition so students were forced to study under a bulb in a boat-like cement structure. “Even the toilet there was in a bad condition. I have got it cleaned and will ensure someone maintains it,” said Satamkar.

Ravindra Singh, a nearby resident, also gave the students three emergency lights.

Vipin Agrahari, who is studying for the All-India Engineering Entrance Exam, said: “What we have been trying to do for three years, HT did in a day. Thank you.”

Aditya said he was did what he could “as an alert citizen”. “All the best to the students for their exams,” he said.