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All muck & no play at school ground

- Without a fence, outsiders turn school property into vegetable market & dumping ground

Jan. 29: The annual sports day at Pub Guwahati Girls’ School in Chandmari is much about improvising as they run short of space. The girls complete a 100-metre race by turning on their heels at the 50-metre mark to return to the starting point — almost like a 100-metre swimming event.

Ironically, while authorities improvise inside the school compound, the adjacent playground, which can provide a straight 100-metre run, lies occupied by assorted vehicles and vendors.

“We have no option but to make a lot of changes while organising races as we do not have enough space here. Our school playground in front of Chandmari police station has ample space but it has been occupied by outsiders for long,” headmaster Jatindra Kalita told this correspondent today.

As the school authorities are short of funds to fence the ground, it has turned into a dumping place for vehicles seized by Chandmari police, a parking place for those visiting the police station and a spot for loading and offloading LPG cylinders. Some vendors have illegally turned it into a vegetable market.

“The ground was allotted to us by the government in 2005 but it gradually became unfit for use as the police started dumping seized vehicles and people started parking vehicles. Our girls cannot go there, as the ground remains occupied by outsiders. A few years ago, we had sought permission from the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) to construct a boundary wall but it was denied,” Kalita said.

The girls’ school, set up in 1972, has around 250 students at present. But recreation is always a problem because of lack of a good playground.

“As the playground is gradually going out of our hands, the school management committee is planning to erect a fence around it. But we require around Rs 3 lakh for the purpose. We want the administration to help us financially so that we can develop the ground and make it suitable for organising our annual sports week there,” the headmaster said.

“If we can fence the playground and develop it, children of the neighbourhood can also play there. Senior citizens can also use it for morning walks and recreation. People should understand that there is no open space here and we need help from all to develop the ground,” Kalita said.


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