Cool classes in hot coal zone

Verma spent Rs 3,000 from his salary to buy three air coolers for his Bhaga Basti school which he had set up last year

By Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad
  • Published 14.04.19, 12:06 AM
  • Updated 14.04.19, 12:06 AM
  • 2 mins read
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An air-cooler installed in one of the classes at Bhaga Basti school in Katras, Dhanbad. Picture by Shabbir Hussain

Call it the coolest way of learning. A 33-year-old BCCL deputy manager (marketing), who runs three schools for children of coal pickers in the underground coal fire-hit zone of Katras, has installed three air-coolers in one of his cradles to prevent students from skipping classes because of scorching heat.

Son of a group D employee of BCCL, Dev Kumar Verma spent Rs 3,000 from his salary to buy three air coolers for his Bhaga Basti school which he had set up last year.

“I grew up amid a lot of hardships. My father Rajendra Sonar battled hard to give me good education,” said Verma, who runs two more schools at Katras Bazar, which was established in March 2015, and another at Prem Nagar (set up in August 2018).

According to Verma, there are around 100 students in each of the schools which have classes from I to V.

“The life of a coal picker is very tough. He has to keep moving from one place to another because of various compulsions. It is very difficult to convince them to send their children to schools unless we provide them with additional facilities. So I decided to install an air-cooler in each of the three classrooms at Bhaga Basti to ensure that children came to school,” Verma added.

“Besides installing the air-coolers, I also spent Rs 30,000 to renovate the school building this year,” said Verma.

Raju Bhuyan, a coal picker from coal town’s Sonardih area whose son Gaurav is a Class III student in the Bhaga Basti cradle said, “My son came third in the Class II final exam this year. He is very enthusiastic about the air-coolers as he has never seen one before.”

Another coal picker Ratan Sharma whose son studies in Class II said, “Due to extreme heat, we are always worried about the health of our children. So long, we thought we were helpless, but not any more. God has a sent us a messenger in Devbabu who not only provides free education, but has also installed coolers in the school.”

Verma, who did his MBA from NIT-Durgapur, bagged a job in Coal India in 2010 and joined BCCL in 2014. “After bagging the Coal India job, I decided to do something for the underprivileged and established the first school at Katras Bazar by renovating my ancestral home,” he said.