Naxalite-hit Tundi of Dhanbad, where JMM supremo Shibu Soren launched an educational initiative called ratri pathshala or night school in early 70s to kick off his political career, will finally get a concrete building for intermediate studies.
Shibu Soren Inter College, which was inaugurated last year and used to function from a makeshift structure, will move to the ground floor of the two-storied under-construction building on September 19. Director (personnel) of BCCL P.E. Kachchap will inaugurate the facility that is being built at the behest of Tundi MLA and former land revenue minister Mathura Prasad Mahto at Manjhladih area of Tundi, 45km from Dhanbad district headquarters.
The coal major’s director (technical) Ashok Kumar will also grace the occasion.
However, Soren will not be a part of the inaugural function.
Speaking to mediapersons at Circuit House in Dhanbad on Wednesday, Mahto said Tundi was a backward area and students, including girls, had to travel to distant Dhanbad for studies.
“We started the college a year ago with a dozen students. Classes used to be held under sheds close to the new building. However, the number rose to 700 within a year,” said Mahto, with district JMM president Ramesh Tuddu and board members of the college, sitting by his side.
He added that a separate degree college would also come up on five acres of land in a nearby area.
Notably, Soren, apart from the night school, had also started a nashabandi (de-addiction) programme in Tundi in 1971 for tribal people. He first contested the Assembly election from Tundi in 1977, but lost and later shifted his base to Dumka in Santhal Pargana.
“As Guruji started ratri pathshala as part of his social reform programme in Tundi about 40 years ago, we decided to start a college in the same area in his honour,” said Mahto.
He also announced the party’s plan to press for a separate university in Dhanbad.
“A JMM delegation will meet chief minister Hemant Soren on September 15 and urge him to establish Vinod Bihari Mahto University in the coal town in honour of JMM co-founder late Vinod Bihari Mahto,” the Tundi MLA added.
Asked about the differences with alliance partner Congress over the Land Acquisition Bill passed by the UPA at the Centre, Mahto said: “Some legislations like Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act are already in existence to protect the interest of poor people in Jharhand. So we will accept new rules with regard to land acquisition only if its provisions are in accordance with the CNT Act.”
“We will keep our views in front of our ally, Congress, and discuss the matter at length,” he added.