Ground Report | New Delhi: Hanuman Prasad Andh Vidyalaya; After the closure of Shree Hanuman Prasad Poddar Blind School for all the students studying at the level above class 9, students of a visually impaired school in Varanasi are out in agitating. This is the only school in the Purvanchal area of Varanasi, where visually impaired students study. There are 250 seats for students here. But, the school has now stopped taking admission of children above 9th standard.
Hanuman Prasad Andh Vidyalaya
The trustees running the institute are claiming that they are not getting enough help from the government to run the school. He claims that earlier 75% of the grant was available from the government. In the year 2018-19, it came down to 50% and in 2019-20 there was no money.
In such a situation, last year the school said in a letter to the students, it is being informed to all of you that in the meeting of the school executive committee, it has been decided that in view of the financial constraints, the operation of some classes of the school will be completely stopped. Since then, the students of the school have been protesting.
On June 17 last year, in the executive meeting of the school administration, a decision was taken to stop admissions in classes IX to XII. The reason for this was said to be financial constraints. Since then, 250 students of the school have been protesting.
Vikas, a 22-year-old class X student from Sripur in Mirzapur district, who attended the school, said, “For two years now, the school administration has been trying to shut down the institute for financial reasons, even though it gets government funding.”
“Now our life is dark. The administration used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to shut down,” Ganesh Yadav, a 21-year-old student of the school in Mahita village, Gorakhpur, told Gaon Connection.
“I passed my class 8th exam, but I don’t know where I will study my ninth,” Ramkumar of Ramauli village in Bihar’s Begusarai district told Gaon Connection. “While Uttar Pradesh has four government schools for the blind, Bihar and Jharkhand have no schools,” said 17-year-old Ramkumar.
Ramkumar said that the school is playing with his future. “We want to study and be able to stand on our own feet, and our opportunity for education is being taken away from us,” he complained.
Akhilesh Khemka, joint secretary of Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar Smriti Seva Trust, says that the support available for running the school is continuously decreasing. Apart from the government grant, lakhs of rupees are being spent every year in the running of the school by the trust. Now it has become difficult to invest money by yourself.
Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar Andh Vidyalaya was established in 1972 in the memory of freedom fighter, philanthropist, and writer Hanuman Prasad Poddar. He was also the director of Gita Press, the world’s largest publisher of Hindu religious texts.
The school for the visually impaired was initially only up to class V. It became a junior high school in 1984 and a high school in 1990. In 1993 it became an intermediate school.
The Hanuman Prasad Poddar Memorial Trust, which runs the school, is made up of 18 trustees. Its president is Krishna Kumar Jalan, a well-known businessman from Varanasi, Banaras. All the trustees except one, who is the principal of the school, are businessmen.
Charges are flying fast as classes 9 to 12 are closed. “The school gets enough and more money regularly from the government. But the trustees want to close the school and use the campus for commercial purposes,” Shashi Bhushan Pandey, a 25-year-old alumnus of Rajpur Saraiya in Sant Kabir Nagar district said.