Skip to main content

Slum demolition in Vadodara: Gujarat's cultural capital "fails" Right to Education law for displaced children

Counterview Desk
A recent survey of 118 families, who were “shifted” to Yamuna Mill Pratap Nagar area of Gujarat's cultural capital, Vadodara, after their houses were razed to the ground as part of the city's biggest slum clearance operation, has revealed how the devastation has adversely affected school going children. More than 2,000 slum houses, mainly belonging to Muslim and Dalit communities, were bulldozed in the operation, which took place in the third week of November. While about one third of those whose houses were shifted to alternative housing sites under construction more than 10 kilometres away, others began found solace with their relatives or are just living by the roadside even today, braving winter.
The slum clearance operation took place in Kalyannagar and Kamatipura in order to create space for implementing the Vishwamitri riverfront project on lines of the Sabarmati riverfront, projected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an urban model of development before he took over reins of power. The survey, whose results were handed over to the local authorities, found that the future of as many as 103 girls and 130 boys is at stake. Of these, 164 children come under the right to education (RTE) Act – as many as 68 children study from classes one to four, and the rest in classes five to eight. As for others, they are studying in classes from ninth to twelfth.
The survey, carried out by Vadodara's women's organisation, Sahyar, said that great majority of children, 169, were studying in the private schools at the place of their residence, while as for the rest, they were studying in government schools. The private schools where they studied included Jivan Bharti, Navyug Vidyalaya, Shri Krishna Vidyalaya, Sardar Vinay Mandir, Hill Memorial Arya Kanya Vidyalaya, and so on. “85 per cent of the children used to go walking to these schools”, the survey said, adding, “The parents did not have to spend anything for their transport.”
Pointing out that only 25 children have been able to get admission in a nearby school, the survey said, as for others they must still go about 10 kilometres away to study in their respective schools. While the children whose parents could spend about Rs 1,000 per month for transportation have begun sending them far away to study, as for others, they have no other option but not to send their children so far. “There is a sense of fear that small children cannot be sent in rickshaws so far away”, the survey said, “It is not known how many parents will continue to afford sending their children so far and for how many days.”
In fact, the view is pretty strong, according to the survey, that many of the children would join the labour force in the coming days, as there are fewer livelihood options with their parents at the new place of living. "There is about 30 per cent reduction in the overall income of the earning members after they were forced to shift to the new place", the survey said, adding, "This apart, there is a sharp rise in the expenditure of the parents compared to what it was earlier. Many of them have been forced to begin sell vegetables or earn a living by selling waste material after collecting it from house to house."
Based on the survey, the displaced slumdwellers of Kalyannagar and Kamatipura have demanded from authorities to “immediately ensure” the implementation of the RTE, which requires giving free transport to the school of children. “The RTE makes it mandatory for the officialdom to ensure free and compulsory education, and the cost of transportation has to be borne by the government”, the survey said, adding, “The destruction of the slumdwellers houses is illegal, as many of them lived on government land, and according to the slum development policy of the government, they ought to have been provided with housing at their original place of living, which has not happened.”
The survey said, as many as 118 children would require free bus to transport them to school every day at about 6:15 in the morning. Another 50 children would require bus to transport them at 11:15 in the forenoon. The buses should bring back the children, it pointed out, adding, “Actually, the RTE issue should have been sorted out even before the slumdwellers were sought to be displaced. Already, children have suffered for failing to study for about a month.” A copy of the survey has been sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties,Vadodara, and the Vadodara municipal commissioner.
Quoting children, the survey said, Aftab Sheikh of class 7 complained that, often, they reached school late and as a punishment are not allowed to take their meal during the lunch hour. “Earlier we went walking to school”, he said, adding, “Most of the time the rickshaw hired for us reaches the school late.” Another child, Minakshi Prajapati, studying in class 11, said, “My parents have deposited Rs 8,000 for extra classes, and they now have to spend another Rs 500 to hire a van for the classes.” Shahnawaz Diwan of class seven and Jivan of class ten complained that they have to cycle 10 kilometres daily to go to school.

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).