Monday, 30th October 2017

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Love for rhino pours in from all quarters

Children forgo meal to feed calf

By Smita Bhattacharyya
  • Published 9.08.16


Picture by UB Photos
Singer Priyanka Bharali, who adopted one of the rhino calves rescued from the flood, visits the
Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation in Kaziranga on Sunday and (below) students
of Nepali Khuti Banuwa LP School in Bokakhat on Monday. Picture by Prodip Hazarika

Jorhat, Aug. 8: Children of a primary school near Bokakhat gave up their midday meal today so that orphaned rhino calves rescued by the Centre for Wildlife Rescue and Conservation could have theirs.

Touched by the tale of eight rhino calves battling for survival without their mother's milk, children of Nepali Khuti Banuwa LP School near Oriole Park, 7km to east of Bokakhat,# voluntarily gave up their midday meal so that milk could be bought to feed the calves.

Headmaster Bubul Dutta said the midday meal that the children of the school gave up could procure only one packet of milk but their largesse inspired donations from seven others, including teachers, managing committee members, businessmen and others.

"We handed over eight packets of milk powder to CWRC head Rathin Barman in the presence of NRL official P.K. Baruah and block resource person Pradip Sharma. From one packet about six litres of milk can be produced and one rhino calf needs 20 litres per day," he said.

Dutta said the children had sought permission from him to give up the meal and he asked them to give it in writing. On Friday, they submitted the application.

"I sought permission over phone from block elementary education officer Barman Teron, who told me that this was a very generous gesture from the students and me to permit them to do so," Dutta said.

However, as one child gets only Rs 3.78 per meal from the government the amount came to about Rs 300 and a packet costs Rs 287.

"When others heard about the donation, they also contributed and we could give eight packets," the headmaster said.

Barman said he was deeply touched by the gesture of children who were so young.

"Never have I come across an instance where I was told by the teacher that children below 12 had on their own given up a meal for the sake of wildlife," he said.

The eight packets will provide at least two milk meals to the eight calves, each meal comprising about 2.5 litres," he said.

The school also has 33 children studying in KG but they do not come under the government's midday meal scheme.

"Whatever food is made with the dole is shared with these children as we cannot exclude the youngest of the lot while the others are eating," Dutta said.

The name of the school already has a connection with milk.

"While most of the children hail from different communities, the majority being from the tea tribes, earlier the area had a Nepali khuti set up by Ahom King Suhungmung Dihinga to provide milk to the king's camp nearby. Hence, the name of the school," Dutta said.