School lost, boon found
By Asim Pramanik, The
Statesman, 5 Sep 2009
BEHRAMPORE (West Bengal), 4
SEPT 2009: A primary school set up by an NGO, has come as a boon for the
children of the erosion-hit villages along the Padma embankments in
Jalangi, Murshidabad. Most of children come from families of landless
peasants, who either died of starvation or lost their homestead to the
eroding Padma waters in the past few years.
The primary school run by a Delhi-based NGO, Charity Alliance at Uttarpara
village of Ghoshpara gram panchayat area in Jalangi block, opened with an
enrolment of 170 students, mostly coming from Muslim minority families.
Despite the services rendered by several ICDS centres in Jalangi, the
institute with a pre-school provision assumes importance because many
local schools were either shifted or devoured by the rampaging Padma,
dimming the academic prospects of the children from the displaced
A primary school building at Paraspur, which also served as a settlement
for victims of erosion, was washed away by the ravaging waters of the
Padma a few years ago. The government had set up another school, after the
demolition of this one, at Raipara, several km away from its old site. As
a result, the children of Paraspur were losing out on an opportunity to
study, distance being a factor in these areas, said a local human rights
At the time of a calamity, the schools become homes for the villagers, but
later the schools are often relocated elsewhere, and the schoolkids stand
sufferers, the activist added.
Learning of starvation deaths in Jalangi from a report published in The
Statesman, the NGO started operating in the erosion-hit villages and
gave away relief materials among the victim families and kin of the
hunger-death victims. The NGO officials informed that their school would
impart cost-free education to the needy kids belonging to erosion-hit
families while the children of solvent parents would have to pay a maximum
fee of rupees sixty per month.
The school is funded by Zakat, a fund accumulated from donations made by
Muslims (2.5 per cent of their savings) as a compulsory ritual. The
teachers would be paid from donation and the collection of students'
nominal fees. “We expect to impart quality education to the poor but
meritorious students, because we have a faculty comprising graduate,
honours graduate and post graduate teachers,” said Mr Golam Kibria, one of
the chief officials of the school. Several erosion-hit villages like
Taltoli, Paraspur, Raipara, Dayarampur, Muradpur, Uttar and Dakshin
Ghoshpara would benefit from the Alliance School, Mr Kibria claimed. Many
of the locals, however, had a different view. They voiced the need to have
similar schools at Padma islands where erosion victims were rehabilitated.
The Statesman, Kolkata, 5 Sept. 2009)
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