At least 300 students from three villages affected by the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) project are expected to begin their academic year in the new school developed by City Industrial and Development Corporation (CIDCO) from June 15. Even as 25 per cent local residents from these three villages are yet to shift to the redeveloped node, the school will be inaugurated this Friday.
The Zilla Parishad schools in these three villages will be shut after the students attend classes in the new school. According to CIDCO, essential amenities for conducting classes, including benches and chalkboards, have been provided in the new school.
“We have received consent from Chinchpada, Waghivaliwada and Kopar villages. The villagers will send their children to the new school made ready in Vadghar pocket of Pushpaknagar node where project affected people are expected to rehabilitate. Most locals from these three villages are residents of Karanjali node hardly 2 km from the Vadghar school. The school is spacious enough to accommodate the students,” a senior CIDCO official said.
As locals were allegedly delaying evacuation, CIDCO had proposed shutting ten Zilla Parishad schools in the ten affected villages by May-end. However, locals protested against it claiming that more than half of the villagers are yet to shift to the new node. In a meeting between villagers and CIDCO on Tuesday, locals from the three villages agreed to send their children to the new school.
“We have agreed to send the students to the new school with laid out conditions,” said Prem Patil activist in Kopar village. “We have asked CIDCO to build an independent school for the students of our village in the coming two years. We expect an increase in number of residents staying in the Pushpak node ten years from now, which is why a single school in Vadghar may become insufficient to handle the increased strength,” Patil said.
Patil claimed that 25 per cent of the locals in the three villages are yet to shift. “Most of the students, expected to attend the school, have shifted to the node.”
In all, 945 students from each of the ten villages are expected to shift to two new schools built by CIDCO.The move is a part of the plan to ensure speedy rehabilitation of ten project affected villages. Of the 3,000 families in the affected area, structures belonging to only 1,092 families have been demolished.
Locals of the remaining seven villages have asked CIDCO to build additional schools for each affected village. “CIDCO is yet to send us design plans of how the schools would be. In the redeveloped node, they have not built any hospital, dispensary, anganwadi. Without these facilities, we will not send our children to the new schools,” said Ravindra Patil, member, Raigad Zilla Parishad who is representing the concerns of the locals
Locals fear the new schools are far from the nodes they have been asked to stay in. “The new schools are at least a kilometre-3 kilometres away from where they have asked us to stay. We cannot expect our six, seven year old kids to walk this far,” Patil added. According to CIDCO, they will provide bus services to ferry students.
Officials from CIDCO said that locals from the fourth village, Varchaole, have also agreed to shift to the re-developed plot in another two months, which may enable students to shift to the new school. The second school lies in Vahal pocket of the redeveloped node.
The government eyes a deadline to start flight operations at the new airport by 2019 end.