Ahmedabadís Muslim ghetto finally gets a municipal school

FP

Juhapura, Ahmedabad's biggest Muslim ghetto, will finally get its first municipal school, an urban health centre and an anganwadi kendra, if one goes by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's (AMC) 2013-14 budget ratified on Tuesday.

Gujarat's Revenue and Urban Development Minister Anandiben Patel performed bhoomipujan for the school in Sankalit Nagar in the heart of Juhapura last Tuesday. The health centre, anganwadi and primary school from Class I-VIII will come up on different floors of the same building.

Juhapura was among areas incorporated into city limits in 2007 and comes under the Sarkhej ward where all the three corporators belong to the Congress.

Municipal Commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra told The Indian Express, "In the absence of a town planning scheme in the area, resulting in lack of defined roads and drainage system, facilities like school, anganwadi kendra and urban health centre could not come up. The land where these facilities are coming up belongs to the AMC and was given for some educational purposes to the state government, which is no more the case. This land was cleared of the old building and also encroachment."

In the absence of any municipal school in the area, parents are forced to send their wards to nearby private schools. "I left the school and joined a madrassa near my house," said a 12-year-old residing near the new school site who dropped out of school after Class VII.

When contacted, chairman of Municipal School Board Jagdish Bhavsar said, "The AMC along with Municipal School Board is expanding its facilities in the city's new west zone."

Corporation officials said the announcement and bhoomipujan ceremony was kept a low-key affair.

"We thank the minister who came for the bhoomipujan for considering our demand of the last 12 years. But I was not even informed about the event despite being the local councillor. I learnt about it later in the day," said Hazi Asratbaig, the corporator from Sarkhej.

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