The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 23 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Alumni try for playground

Jan. 22: Self-help is the best help and the past pupils of Ulubari HS School are living up to the popular adage.

The landmark school’s alumni association has taken the first step towards fulfilment of a 50-year-old dream — converting a 2.5-bigha swamp, adjacent to their alma mater, into a playground.

“For a start, we plan to develop the area, which has been lying idle as a swamp for decades now, into a playground by April this year. As of now we have not fixed any budget for the project. Instead, we plan to take one step at a time. While funds will be a factor, we are trying our best to mobilise resources from our side,” Balen Goswami, secretary of the alumni association, told The Telegraph today.

The project, which includes land-filling and levelling, construction of a boundary wall and a drain was taken up during the golden jubilee celebrations a couple of years back. “We had also pledged during the golden jubilee celebrations that we would convert the area into a playground and organise the closing ceremony there,” he said.

“We have plans to set up a basketball court and an auditorium in the area as well,” Goswami, an alumnus of the 1978 batch, said.

The purpose of this project is to facilitate development of the school’s infrastructure in the long run. The institution has borne the brunt of the monsoon deluge as it is below the road level.

“So, once the project materialises, these problems will be sorted,” he added.

Till date, the association has spent almost Rs 10 lakh on the project initiated in 2010.

“We are grateful to the water resources department which was the first to provide earth-filling. Thereafter, real estate builders, and even the Satsang Vihar authorities, recently, had done the same. So, earth for the landfill work has come for free. The 2.5-bigha swamp, which was as deep as 20 feet in places, has now been elevated to a level above the road. So, waterlogging will not be an issue during the monsoon,” he said.

The alumni association has nearly 200 members of whom 10 are actively associated with the project.

“We are spending Rs 15,000 a day as rent on the JCB (earthmover). But of course, there have been days when work had been interrupted because of funds limitation. Last year, we had generated a decent sum by organising a theatre in the Rupnagar area. This year, we plan to invite the same theatre group (from Nalbari) to perform once the ground is ready by April and mobilise more resources for the remaining work,” Jitu Patowari, an alumnus of the 1984 batch, said.

The association is hopeful that once the spadework is done, help will flow from Dispur and other quarters.

“We know that once the ground takes shape, the government will take recognition and help our cause. The association will approach the authorities in Dispur at the opportune time. Then again, the North Eastern Council has assured us of funds for renovation of one of the Assam-type structures on the school’s premises,” Goswami added.

Ulubari HS School has 500 students (both high and HS).

“Our students have done well in inter-school tournaments, particularly cricket. Till date, they have had to make do with the 400 square feet area on the premises and sometimes at Gauhati Medical College playground. Once the playground comes up in our school, we expect to produce more sportspersons. The association is doing a great job,” Dipika Devi, principal of the school, said.

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