The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Slum spruce-up for test
- Youth at first-time HS centre clear garbage, serve tea

Till last week, Noor Ali Lane was a filthy, shadowy slip road leading to a Beniapukur slum. Today, it is a clean and comfortable setting for Higher Secondary (HS) examinations.

All thanks to a group of youths who take pride in their para and are striving to play perfect hosts to their month-long visitors ' the girls and their guardians frequenting Anjuman Mufidul Islam Girls' Higher Secondary School for the ongoing exams.

This is the first time that the tiny institution meant for girls from the locality has been chosen to play host to HS examinees.

'We weren't prepared for this' Last Friday, we noticed how chaotic the narrow lane had become, with the cars coming in and people having to skirt the filth' We felt ashamed,' recount Tannu Mirza and Mohammad Shakil.

A meeting was called, with Tannu, Shakil, Shamim Aslam, Rizvi and the rest resolving to turn things around.

Enter, brooms and bleaching powder, traffic rules and tea with snacks, a hundred hired chairs for the guardians and a helping hand for all.

'I was worried when I came to know that my daughter would have to write her exams in a school located in a Beniapukur slum. But the warmth and hospitality shown by the people here has convinced me that there could not have been a better venue for my daughter,' smiles A.K. Tripathi, father of a Rani Birla College student.

With the garbage mounds being cleaned out, traffic being monitored to ensure minimum disturbance to examinees and tea and water being served to the guardians on the house, there is no cause for complaint.

What's more, a nearby restaurant is being kept shut to 'outsiders' for an hour during the exam break to cater exclusively to the examinees.

'It is a great feeling to get this kind of reception while appearing for an examination,' says Sunita Shaw of Rani Birla College.

Naheed Sultana, Anjuman school headmistress, salutes the para boys: 'I am grateful to them for their initiative. They are doing it all on their own.'

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