Eight-year-old Sanket Lembhe peeps into his Std III classroom in the deserted Zila Parishad School in Malin as his mother chides him. Sanket, along with five of his peers, hasn’t attended classes after their school was declared unsafe by the district administration following the July 30 landslide.
As many as 48 students from classes IV to VIII, who have already started attending ‘combined classes’ at a high school that is a kilometre away, will witness the flag hoisting ceremony at the new venue on Friday.
The Malin village landslide buried 151 people in the early hours of July 30. Among the dead were at least 21 children, 19 of whom were from this school. There are seven hamlets located on the hills. Children from these hamlets also attended the same school.
Says Sanket’s mother Saguna, “Though we live in a hamlet up the hill, we keep coming to the main village. I feel we are lucky that none of us were here when disaster struck. Electricity supply has now been resumed. We want the main road, which is the lifeline of the village, to be relaid.”
Pravin Lumaji Shelke, a Class VIII student, recounts the last Independence Day celebrations. “Our parents had attended it. This year, the flag will be hoisted at the high school premises,” he says.
Nilesh Dhawale, a teacher at the high school, says, “We do not have classrooms. But we have been managing to hold combined classes for students from classes IV to VII in one classroom. There are six more students from classes I to III. Their parents want a classroom in one of the hamlets. We are trying to work it out.”
High school principal S P Supe says efforts are being made to accommodate these children. “But we need more classrooms for it, ” she adds.
‘VISITORS ARE A MENACE’
Villagers from the adjacent hamlets say that the people who visit the place in cars have become a menace. “At least 50 to 80 cars visit the area daily. These are people who come to Bhimashankar and come to Malin to visit the landslide site. It is disheartening to see them take pictures of our misery. They need to be told that the place has been declared unsafe for staying,” a villager said.
Gov cancels ‘At home’ reception
In the wake of the Malin tragedy, the annual Chahapaan, reception organised by the Governor on August 15, has been cancelled. “Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan has cancelled the ‘At home’ reception scheduled to be held in Pune on August 15 evening,” read a statement issued by the governor’s office. Sankaranarayanan will felicitate the NDRF team at the Council hall as proposed by district collector Saurabh Rao.