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Sourav plans school debut

Siliguri, Feb. 19: For the skipper, it's Sachin and Sehwag before him in the batting order. When it comes to the entrepreneur in Sourav Ganguly, it's education after food.

Last year, he partnered a multi-cuisine restaurant in Calcutta. Now, the southpaw is set to open schools.

'That is what I have always wanted to do, impart education to children,' Sourav said in the players' dressing room at Kanchenjunga Stadium.

He had led a celebrity trio, including tennis star Sania Mirza and soccer pin-up Bhaichung Bhutia, here for a tsunami fundraiser.

Side-stepping questions about the adulation Sania received, Sourav said: 'She is an immensely talented youngster who is doing remarkably well. I wish her luck and want her to excel as much as I want to myself.'

India's most successful cricket captain today said he would come up with schools in Calcutta and Siliguri, a town he calls his second home.

Modelled on his alma mater St Xavier's, Sourav said the schools would start from Class I and go up to the undergraduate college level.

They would be affiliated to two boards, the ICSE and the CBSE, Sourav said. Once set up, such a school would be the first of its kind in the region.

The scale of the venture is apparent from the several sporting activities he envisages for the students, including swimming and, of course, cricket. Both schools would share the same name, which is yet to be finalised.

'While the site for the Calcutta school is yet to be finalised, in Siliguri, I have identified a plot at Uttorayan,' he said.

Uttorayan, 4 km away, is Siliguri's first satellite township coming up over 450 acres that was developed after uprooting the Chandmoni tea garden in 2003.

Accompanied by urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya and Bengal Ambuja managing director Harsh Neotia, Sourav today toured the two-acre plot he had selected.

'Initially, the plan was for one acre, but now he has expressed his interest to purchase a two-acre plot to build the school,' said Neotia of the deal, which will be finalised 'very soon'.

Sourav is also expected to be the chief patron of a cricket academy slated to come up at Uttorayan under the aegis of the state government.

Uttorayan is a joint venture of Bengal Ambuja, the Laxmi Township Company and the government.

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