Students from tribal hamlets in Shahapur miss school due to overflowing river

Published on Aug 13, 2022 08:39 PM IST

The school children of three tribal hamlets of Shahapur in Thane district cannot attend school during monsoon as the only way to reach it is by crossing a river

Students helped to cross the river in Shahapur. Students from tribal hamlets in Shahapur miss school due to overflowing river. (HT PHOTO)
Students helped to cross the river in Shahapur. Students from tribal hamlets in Shahapur miss school due to overflowing river. (HT PHOTO)
ByAnamika Gharat, Thane

The World Tribal Day is observed on August 9. However, for the tribals of Shahapur, the day was nothing more than a sham.

The school children of three tribal hamlets of Shahapur in Thane district cannot attend school during monsoon as the only way to reach it is by crossing a river.

The Shai river swells in monsoon because of the water flowing from the Sahyadri ranges and the access to the school is blocked.

Over 25 children from Bhitarwadi and Kothewadi hamlets of Shahapur lose connectivity to the other villages and the main road during the monsoon. The children are concerned about missing lessons. Despite several demands from the villagers, there is no bridge to cross the river and reach the school in Chafewadi village.

Madhuri Jadhav, a Class 5 student, is keen on becoming a doctor after attending a workshop organised by an NGO in her Bhitarwadi village. She was waiting to go to school and study hard to achieve her goal. However, even after her schools reopened, she is still unable to attend it as the water level of the river is high and there is no other access.

Her friend’s father, Manohar Hindola, 30, said, “I have internet on my mobile, but Madhuri’s family can’t afford the same. She is small but determined to study, so she comes to my house to complete the syllabus under my guidance. She also cried when she could not attend school in the second week after reopening due to the heavy rain. There are 25 students from Classes 1 to 5 who have to walk 1.5km and cross the river. We help them when the water level is less. However, the river floor is slippery and risky.”

Madhuri said, “I love to study Maths and Science. I want to enrol in a bigger school for Secondary but I will first have to clear my Primary exams. Most days, we miss school as the river is overflowing. My seven-year-old brother slipped in the water once, so we avoid crossing it.”

B Chavhan, block education officer, said that he has sent a letter to the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Zilla Parishad to get funds to build a bridge here as education is the only hope for these tribal children to overcome poverty.

“There were several proposals for a bridge across the river. However, funds were never allocated. Children miss school for three to four months during the monsoon. It is difficult for them to catch up with the missed syllabus. Moreover, some of them also lose interest in education and it is difficult for them to regain their focus.”

Bhaskar Rengade, BDO, said, “We will discuss this issue in our next meeting with our engineers and try to solve the matter soon.”

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