Eight-year-old Sanket Lembhe peeps into his classroom in the deserted Zila Parishad School in Malin as his mother chides him. Sanket, along with five of his peers will soon attend a ‘combined class’ at a high school that is a kilometre away. Their school was declared unsafe by the district administration after the landslide.
As many as 48 students of classes IV to VIII, who have already started attending classes, 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.
Sanket’s mother Saguna said, “Though we live in a hamlet up the hill, we keep coming to the main village. I feel I am lucky that none of us were here when disaster struck. Electricity supply has now been resumed. We want the main road, which was the lifeline of the village, to be relaid.”
Pravin Lumaji Shelke, a Class VIII student, recounts the last Independence Day celebrations. “Our parents and other villagers also attended it. This year, the flag will be hoisted at the high school premises”.
Nilesh Dhawale, a teacher at the high school, said, “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 said, “Efforts are being made at the block level to accommodate these children. But we need more classrooms for it”.
The survivors, whose homes were damaged, are now at a relief camp in Aasne village.