KOCHI: She is mother of five in her late 70s working as daily wage sweeper in Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) for over 40 years now and earns a meager Rs 150 a day. Her single room makeshift hut had got burned down in a fire last October.
That was a stark revelation for BTech student Nitin Vasanth at the School of Engineering on the varsity campus on a November evening. He and friend Anatharaman G, another BTech student, then decided to build a house for Paru Amma with the help of their college mates.
“When our attempts to wake up authorities failed, we approached the teaching staff and principal. With constant support from teachers Roy M Thomas of Civil Department, N Biju of Mechanical Department and Principal Prof G Madhu we could proceed with our mission,” recalls Anatharaman
“Then we realized there were lots of ownership issues with the small 0.9 cent of land. After numerous visits to village and municipal offices, we
secured clearance to start construction,” he says.
The students then tore down the old half-burnt structure and cleared the land. “We took turns to work as helpers for masons adjusting our classes. We also tried our hand at welding the truss with the help of the college mechanical lab welding machines. We also sourced small favors from civil engineering lab for construction materials.
Worst part though was waking up early morning everyday to water the cement structures for curing. Meanwhile, we collected donations from all
teachers who were more than happy to contribute. As favor from university contractor, we even got an earthmover for free to clean up the mess in the courtyard .Electrified the house all by ourselves. And finally did a grand house warming ceremony on Friday,” says Nitin.
Missed tons of classes, debts still remain to be sorted out, but that smile on her face when the key was handed over to her was worth all the pain, say the students.