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

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Nuclear power expansion: Is AEC's new, 'unrealistic' target fully backed by PMO?

By Shankar Sharma*  Another unrealistic and tall claim by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has been announced: India is eyeing 100 GW nuclear power by 2047, the AEC chairman  AK Mohanty   has said. A few years ago, the dream target for the Indian nuclear establishment was 275,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2050 (as per DAE document of 2008 "A Strategy for the Growth of Electricity in India”). Now this target of 100 GW nuclear power by 2047. And as at the end of February 2024, the actual nuclear power capacity was only 7,480 MWe, which formed only 1.7% of the total power capacity in the country. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.