| Aladdin’s magic lamp: Cheque distribution in Singur. File picture
Singur, Nov. 3: Unlike with Koti Reddy of Cyberabad, Baidyanath Pal’s windfall brought him no dilemma.
The 75-year-old retired schoolteacher knew exactly what he wanted to do with the Rs 1.2 lakh the government gave him in exchange for his 10 cottahs in Singur.
He has donated Rs 50,000 to Gopalnagar High School, which he and his brother had helped establish 40 years ago. He would have handed over the entire sum but for the expensive dialysis he needs for his failing kidneys.
Reddy may stand to make Rs 114 crore by selling his farmland in Hyderabad’s IT hub — but it was Baidyanath who was comparing his good fortune to a fairy tale.
“The Tata Motors project came like Aladdin’s magic lamp,” he said. It granted him his wish to do his bit for the school just when he had begun to worry.
Altruism' Baidyanath would have none of it. He has merely fulfilled a dream his brother Surjyakanta, two years his junior, had held before he died of a stroke in February 2004. Both brothers had been teachers at Singherbheri Primary School.
“My brother had always wished he could donate some money to the high school. I had been thinking about how to fulfil his dream. As the nominee, I had come to own his 10-cottah plot after his death,” Baidyanath said from his sickbed in Rupnarayanpur, about 55 km from Calcutta.
“Perhaps God realised how I longed to help the school. Otherwise, why should the Tatas have thought of setting up their small-car project right at this moment'”
Eldest son Sanat, too, feels Baidyanath had just done his “duty”. “Only a week before he died, our uncle had told the school management he wanted to donate them some money. My father just made his dream come true,” said the Central Co-operative Bank employee.
Of Baidyanath’s other two sons, Ramendranath works with a private firm in Calcutta while the youngest, Uttam, is an employee of the animal resources development department in Chinsurah.
“The moment my father heard the government wanted to acquire land in the neighbourhood, he submitted his consent. He received the cheque on September 29…. We conveyed his wish to Shyam Sundar Barui, a teacher of the school,” Uttam said.
The sons then wrote to school secretary Sunil Barui. “We also requested him to set up a plaque in our uncle’s name at the school. The managing committee agreed to accept the donation and we sent the cheque immediately,” Uttam said.
“We are grateful that a seriously ill person could donate the sum. He has set a rare example. He was an ideal teacher, sincere and honest. We will spend the money on developing the school,” Sunil Barui said.
Yesterday, the father of a teenager killed in a road accident had handed over the entire life insurance sum of Rs 3.5 lakh to a school in South Dinajpur where he worked as a clerk.
On September 5, a retired engineer had donated his life’s savings – Rs 1 lakh – so that his old school in Burdwan could have a concrete building.