It’s a strange day at school for 17-year-old Yash Giri as his classroom has been shifted to the Delhi pavilion at the ongoing India International Trade Fair (IITF). A student of the Government Co-Ed Senior Secondary School, Dwarka Sector-2, Giri, along with four classmates and two teachers, is part of the dummy school built at the pavilion.
“The aim is to let visitors know how government schools are faring, and the government’s future plans in terms of infrastructure,” says Gyanendra Kumar, an Economics teacher. As soon as one enters the pavilion, broad wooden desks and chairs, walls with study material on chart papers, a blackboard and some computers greet the visitors. “We’ve come across all kinds of people today — some think this is a political agenda, but I am not affiliated to any party. I am here to represent my school,” says Giri.
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Apart from the dummy classroom, the pavilion has also set up a dummy mohalla clinic — complete with medicines, a doctor’s chamber with a patient bed, and a waiting area. The clinic comes in handy when a woman is brought in with a swollen foot after a fall. The person in-charge wraps a crepe bandage around it. “A lot of people have come here every day since the fair started for things such as band-aids and medicines,” says Jyoti, a staffer at the clinic.
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The walls of the pavilion are plastered with 89 photos of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and 62 of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, and the achievements of the Delhi government .
Elsewhere at the fair, demonetisation seems to have had an impact, leaving sellers unhappy with business and footfall.
“It’s 5.30 pm, and I have barely earned Rs 400 all day. The handicraft items I sell are cheap, so there is no point in using Paytm or card machines for such small transactions. This is the worst business I have ever done at IITF,” says M A Khan, 72.
While the fair has been open since November 14, Saturday was the first day it was open to the public. “The pavilions were empty all this while. At least there are people today but they only have old currency. I set up a Paytm account but only one payment has happened via that today,” says Anupam Dey, a staffer at Esaf Bamboo Handicrafts, Jharkhand pavilion.