Can’t keep checking everything all the time, said headmaster about spoil food


  • “40 girls share one room in our Ashram Shala; there are no toilets, we go out in the jungle”
  • A team of scribes visiting Korchi, Kotgul Ashram Shalas found the headmasters drunk



  • There are three Ashram Shalas (Tribal Schools) in Korchi tehsil of the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
    These schools are a part of the “government’s efforts to bring the tribals to the mainstream” and are run by a special Tribal Development Department of the Maharashtra government, headed by a State Cabinet rank Minister. Despite this already established mechanism, the students in these schools live in a pathetic condition.
    “Forty girls share one room in our Ashram Shala…. There are no toilets here. We have to go out in the jungle,” said a Class VII student of Korchi Ashram Shala.
    There are three Ashram Shalas near Korchi, out of which one is based in Korchi village, one in Kotgul village and the third at Gyarapatti village.
    When a team of journalists visited these schools earlier this week, Korchi Ashram Shala headmaster Mr. Wankhede and Kotgul Ashram Shala headmaster S. G. Govardhan were found drunk.
    When asked of the condition of the school, Mr. Wankhede said: “I have been working in this area for the last 21 years…. now it’s enough. I have done whatever I could do, but now I want to get transferred away from this Naxal area.”
    There are 509 students in Mr. Wankhede’s school, out of which 417 live on the school premises. The hostel and the classrooms for the students in this school are one and the same. “During school hours we learn there, and after school hours it turns into our hostel,” said a Class VI student.
    When the team visited Kotgul Ashram Shala, only one teacher was present in the school. Mr. Govardhan rushed to the school “thinking the project officer had came for inspection”.
    The Kotgul school has 275 students, out of which 250 stay on the school premises, where “classrooms acting as hostels after school hours”.
    When this team inspected the food material, the vegetables were found to be decaying, the rice and wheat full of fungus, and the chilli powder and edible oil stale.
    Asked about the bad quality of food being served to the students, Mr. Govardhan said: “We can’t keep checking everything all the time”.
    The tribal school in Gyarapatti village was in a slightly better condition with headmaster D. P. Ganvir personally supervising all the school activities, including meal distribution. “Who will do this if I don’t?” Mr. Ganvir said, while complaining about “inadequate staff”.
    But the school has its own set of problems because it is situated right next to a police camp.
    “There have been instances of firing by Maoists in the school premises. They didn’t target students here, but used the premises to fire at the police camp,” said P. L. Naik, a teacher at the school, pointing towards the bullet holes in the ceiling of the dining hall.
    All the Korchi tehsil Ashram Shalas have no toilets or bathrooms. And all students, including girls, have to go into the dark forest to relieve themselves. All the three have inadequate staff, improper infrastructure, and pathetic living conditions.
    “Is this how the government is fighting Naxalism in this area?” asks one Deputy Sarpanch of a nearby village, who accompanied the team of journalists.

  • “40 girls share one room in our Ashram Shala; there are no toilets, we go out in the jungle”
  • A team of scribes visiting Korchi, Kotgul Ashram Shalas found the headmasters drunk

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