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Class dismissed! BMC wants NGO to vacate classrooms

The civic body has asked Social Activities Integration, an NGO, to vacate the three classrooms they have been using to help children from red-light areas

The rising property rates of south Mumbai had forced the NGO, Social Activities Integration (SAI), to let go of two rooms in Kamathipura and Worli.

Social Activities Integration has been using three rooms in a BMC school at Byculla for their social cause
Social Activities Integration has been using three rooms in a BMC school at Byculla for their social cause

It seems that working for their social cause will only get harder, after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sent an eviction notice, asking them to vacate their school in Byculla.

The NGO are using three classrooms in the building to provide extra study sessions to the children of sex workers. On February 17, mid-day reported how children from Kamathipura travelled all the way to the Byculla school, to prepare for their SSC and HSC exams.

mid-day report on  February 17
mid-day report on  February 17

The NGO provides a safe haven to these kids, helps them in their studies and even provides food. The civic body, however, recently sent a notice, stating that under the Right to Education Act, the premises can be used only for the students of their school.

The founder of SAI, Vinay Vasta said, “With the increasing rent in Worli and Kamathipura, we had to vacate our rooms in 2012. Now, the BMC wants us to give up the classrooms we are using in Byculla.

Since 1999, the NGO has been conducting various activities for the betterment of sex workers, their children and HIV patients. We will appeal to BMC not to remove us from the only place where the kids can study in peace.”

BMC says
Prakash Charate, deputy education officer of zone I and V, BMC, said, “As per the Right to Education Act of 2009, government schools are to be used only for the purpose of education, and should not be let out to any other organisation.

Across the city, NGOs are using more than 629 classrooms for their social cause. Till date, we have gotten 45 rooms vacated and another 150 rooms will be emptied this week.

SAI has been served an eviction notice and they will have to move from the premises.” Bhalchandra Mungekar, a Rajya Sabha MP, has promised to donate R10 lakh to the NGO to help them find alternate arrangements.

>> The NGO has been served third notice by BMC
>> Under RTE, NGOs cannot use govt schools
>> 72 kids of sex workers come to study at the school

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