BENGALURU: There’s an election coming and clearly pandering to voters who are clamouring for community halls take precedence over young students of Siddapura who will lose not only their school but also their hostel when the local MLA green signals the demolition of the Government Primary School in Siddapura.
Around 53 young students are at the risk of losing their home as the Government Primary School in Siddapura faces the wrecking ball. If the school is bulldozed, these young kids will face double trouble as they will lose not only their temple of learning but also their home.
The Department of Social Welfare is all set to demolish the government school’s building along with the hostel and to construct a community hall, an 'Ambedkar Bhavan’ and a Professor B Krishnappa Memorial Hall.
A non-governmental organization (NGO), Need Base India Foundation, which provides care and protection for these students, said that the children should be provided with an alternative shelter or they would be on the streets. “These students are very poor and their parents beg for a living. They come to see them once in a while. If they demolish the building, we don’t have any other place for them right now,” said Mallikarjun, Deputy Secretary of Need Base India Foundation. Most of these students are rescued from the streets and admitted to the school and are housed in some of the rooms of the school itself.
A total of 57 students are studying in this Siddapura facility, attending Classes 1 to 7 with three teachers to teach them. The school was established in 1919 and later moved to its current location in the same area in 1993 on land owned by BBMP. The 99-year-old institution would have marked the centenary of its founding this year. Except, with polls coming, the impoverished students are clearly the first casualty.
The issue came to light after some of the former students of the school decided to oppose the demolition after they were told it was slated for the wrecker's ball. Vinay, a former student of the school said, “There are more than 60 students in the school and the school is doing quite well. How can you demolish it by saying it’s not doing well. That’s very shocking and surprising.”
According to the documents available to Deccan Chronicle, it restates that the decision was based on directions issued by the Social Welfare Minister considering a request submitted by R V Devaraj who is the MLA of the constituency citing fewer students in the school as a reason. Both the teachers and the former students said that could not be cite. What was a matter of concern, they said was that these students would be left with nothing - no home, no school.
The department of Public Instruction will be submitting an objection against the demolition. “We have been running the school for the past 30-40 years and the property belongs to BBMP. They just can’t demolish the building without giving any alternate land to the school where it can be run,” said Ashwatha Narayana Gowda, Deputy Director of Public Instructions (DDPI). Block Education Officer (BEO), Rameshaiah also said that the issue will be discussed and taken to the higher authorities.
Ironically, this was the school that was supposed to be flagged as a heritage school as mentioned by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in his recent state budget.
The 2018 budget announcement stated that 100 Government Primary and High schools which have completed 100 years will be reorganized as “Heritage Schools” and renovated and protected in a phased manner. Education expert, Niranjanaradhya V.P. said, “This is a 99 year old government and should not be disturbed for the purpose of these halls. I have great respect for Dr. Ambedkar and Prof. Krishnappa.”