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British-era school in Gurugram set to be demolished

By Rohit David
PUBLISHED ON JAN 29, 2020 08:27 PM IST

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Wednesday marked the area of the Government Senior Secondary School in Bhondsi to be demolished for the Sohna Road project. Officials said that by the next month, the NHAI will demolish five rooms, a boundary wall and a portion of the primary section of the school, which, according to locals, was built during the British era.

The school authorities said that the building is likely to have come up before Independence, although there are no documents to ascertain the exact timeline. “There is no record for us to know which year the building was constructed, but some elderly people have told me that it dates back to the First World War. The building was made by Rajputs but since the British were ruling the country, the design of this building resembles their architecture,” said Shyam Raghav, principal of the school.

Raghav, who joined the school last year but has lived in Bhondsi since birth, said that before 1947, the school was known as Rajput High School for boys and had a hostel too.

Satish Kumar, the president of the school management committee, said, “This was a boys’ school earlier. My father has studied in this school in 1950.”

“All the classrooms have proper ventilation and chimneys, and the roof is made of wood pillars. The roof of the building is around 15 feet high and few rooms, which were supposedly staff rooms then, even have a fireplace,” said Laxmi Chand, a political science teacher in the school.

The old school building was repaired in 2002, as detailed in a stone plaque on the old building.

Officials of the education department said that the old building should be demolished. Indu Boken, district education officer (DEO), said, “The building is old and should be demolished to give way for new rooms.”

She said that the school was constructed on panchayat land, adding that her father had also studied in this school.

The state government doesn’t have any record of the school’s heritage status that can ensure restoration. Banani Bhattacharyya, deputy director, department of archaeology and museums, said that the government didn’t have any record to suggest that the school was a heritage site. “We have not visited this particular school and can’t be sure if it’s a heritage structure. Our listings don’t have any mention of the school,” said Bhattacharyya.

The NHAI has already installed utility poles inside the school and will build a new boundary wall, blocking out the poles.

Kuldeep Rajvanshi, project director, HG Infrastructure, NHAI’s contractor for the project, said, “We will make a new boundary wall. The old boundary wall will be demolished along with the classrooms.”

School authorities said that a sports room, midday meal room, one washroom and a heritage building that has around four rooms will be demolished.

Ashok Sharma, project director, NHAI Gurugram, said, “We will be making the boundary wall of the school first and the school building after that. The NHAI will ensure that there is no inconvenience to students.”

School authorities said that with the demolition of the old building students will face problems as two senior classes were still being held on these premises. “I will have to make the students sit in the verandah. Until the new building is constructed, we will have a difficult time accommodating students,” said Raghav.

“I will make sure that students don’t have any issue and they are well accommodated,” said Boken.

The 12.72km stretch, from Badshapur to Sohna, would comprise flyovers and underpasses. The total cost of the project is estimated at 1,313 crore.

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