Authorities of Shri Ganesh Vidya Mandir Primary School in Dharavi were forced to continue classes for Class 1 students in a temple on Saturday, after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) demolished their school on October 30. Civic body officials allegedly said that the school was carrying out repair work illegally.
The Class 1 students were accommodated in a temple after their school was demolished (below)
The school’s arrangement to accommodate children proved futile. Students from other classes were sent home as debris filled the classrooms.
The demolished portion of the school remained untouched, while the semi-demolished portion of the school was dangerously close to collapsing any moment.
Many former students of the school raised their objection against the BMC’s actions. In fact, the BMC’s joint municipal commissioner, SS Shinde, a former student of the school in 1970, completed his secondary education from the institution. Shinde’s classmate, Devchand Sonawane, expressed his disappointment with the civic body’s decision to raze the school. “For 42 years, the school has been teaching underprivileged children. The BMC does not take action against bodies that violate rules by constructing illegal buildings. But in this case, authorities began the demolition without prior notice.”
Devchand Sonawane, a former student of Shri Ganesh Vidya Mandir Primary School
BJP demands reconstruction
Several politicians and officials have demanded an inquiry into the incident. Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Mumbai secretary, Vidya Dholay said, “Since the school was in a dilapidated condition, authorities had asked the BMC for permission to repair the school in February. However, the civic body did not respond to the school’s letter and when the school started repair work, they were issued a stop-work notice. After some time, the civic body officials arrived at the school and demolished it.” Documents presented by the school showed no foul play in the repair work.
Dholay has written a letter to state education minister, Vinod Tawade, Education Committee chairman, Vinod Shelar and BMC chief Sitaram Kunte highlighting the issue. “The BMC should reconstruct the school as 300 students have been left in the lurch because of them. The local MLA and corporator have ignored this issue,” she added. Last month, officers and workers from G/North ward demolished the school. It opened in 1970 as the first Marathi school in Dharavi. Assistant Municipal Commissioner, G/North ward, Shard Ughade said, “We will submit a report about the whole issue on Monday.”